I have a love hate relationship with open source software.
On the one had, I get incredibly frustrated by the lack of support, the lack of documentation and the spotty code quality.
On the other, I love having the ability to fix other people’s code. It’s been an incredibly important tool in my education. I definitely would not have nearly the knowledge that I do now if it weren’t for the ability to quickly and easily involve myself in open source projects.
Not only that, it’s also convenient to have the ability to fix broken software that I’d like to use.
Honestly, while I find that closed-source software has significantly fewer bugs, better documentation and better support - I have to say that that last point is a very compelling case for the use of open source software…by developers.
I don’t understand why non-developers get so evangelical about open source software. I just can’t understand what the appeal is for them. Sure, if the software is stable and fulfills a need, by all means use it - but why the hell are there so many non-developer Linux users that constantly and mindlessly praise open source?
But I digress.
Regardless, for me, as a part-time developer, open source software is tits, simply for the ability to fix bugs that piss me off.
I ran into a great example of this this past weekend, actually. I found a fantastic Perl module, App::GitHub. While the idea is fantastic, the version I tried to use was horribly broken.
A beer and 4 patches later, I fixed it and was offered co-maintainership.
So this is also half of an announcement of a new release of App::GitHub that doesn’t break when you try and use it.