Our modern society runs on software. But the tools we use to build software are buckling under increased demand.
Nearly all software today relies on free, public code, written and maintained by communities of developers and other talent. This code can be used by anyone—from companies to individuals—to write their own software. Shared, public code makes up the digital infrastructure of our society today.
Everybody relies on shared code to write software, including Fortune 500 companies, government, major software companies and startups. In a world driven by technology, we are putting increased demand on those who maintain our digital infrastructure. Yet because these communities are not highly visible, the rest of the world has been slow to notice.
The author discusses important and often overlooked topics of why open source software gets built and by whom, of who pays the costs of building and maintaining that software and of how to ensure that the software we all rely upon continues to be reliable. The essay poses more questions than it answers, but I still consider it the best read on the topic of sustaining open source development.
In my case Nadia Eghbal was "preaching to the converted" so this post is me trying to spread her word. Please read her essay and please do not take open source software for granted. The costs of building it are just payed by others, may be you can figure out how to help them?