bastiaan at muxworks.com.au
Thu Sep 29 01:52:22 UTC 2022
On 29/09/2022 2:04 am, Martin Obongita via omnisdev-en wrote:
> I just wish that the community would be bigger and open source.
As someone who is now working full time for an Open Source project let
me add this to this old conversation.
Open source is a beautiful thing but it is no silver bullet. Nothing in
this world is free, Open Source simply changes how those working on the
Open Source project get paid.
They say nobody works for free, everyone needs to put food on the table.
With Open Source this is almost true, there are those who purely as a
hobby or as part of their education work on Open Source projects totally
for free without expecting anything in return, but these people don't
carry the project.
The bulk of contributors are those who use the product themselves, run
into bugs or shortcomings, handle those, and submit those changes for
evaluation. These contributors pay with their time, and are happy to pay
time because a better products allows them to be successful in their
business and thus make money indirectly with the time they've donated to
The flip side of that is that when you aren't able to fix those bugs, or
have the time or knowledge to fill in the shortcomings, you're at the
mercy of others. You can't simply call Omnis support and say "hey,
please fix this bug in your product", that ceases to exist.
You can either accept the bugs won't be fixed or the feature you need
won't be added, or you can learn to contribute, or you can pay someone
to fix it for you. If you run into this situation, the investment in
either time or paying someone for their time, will likely be a magnitude
bigger then your fees to Omnis, it really depends on your situation
whether that investment is worth it (if its a feature that Omnis
wouldn't implement either, the fact that you CAN with an Open Source
project is a definitely a boon OS has over closed software).
Finally every successful Open Source project has a core team that
manages the project and safeguards a vision that ensures the project
doesn't become one big spaghetti mess of mismatched features. This core
team often relies on donations by the community or more likely, bigger
grants by the bigger players who use the product, in order to put food
on the table, as their commitment in time often no longer allows them to
make money using the project. For Omnis this would likely mean taking
the core developer team at Omnis, and getting their paychecks paid by
the community, somehow.
To make a long story short, success in Open Source is a numbers game. A
certain percentage of the community will become contributors, a certain
percentage within those contributors become part of the core team, and a
certain percentage of the community will put up the money that funds the
work. For every successful Open Source project, there are hundreds that
failed, and often the size of the community (or lack thereof) is the
The payoff is that when it does become successful not many closed source
alternatives can compete in available manpower.
Godot, the Open Source project I work for, has hundreds of contributors
donating their time, but that is hundreds out of tens of thousands of
people who use the project (we don't have exact numbers as we don't
track usage but the user count may be far higher). And just to put
further perspective on that, the core team is in the order of 10 to 20
people and we can only afford that because some of the biggest companies
in the world (Epic, Meta, Valve, Google, Microsoft) have taken an
interest in us succeeding and donate large sums to us.
As you say, Omnis has a relatively small community, whether it is a
community large enough and wealthy enough to carry an Open Source
project, that will be the question.
That doesn't mean I think this is a bad idea, I'm simply stating that
this is not a simple journey and that it is a journey that may not put
us in a better position than if Omnis remains closed source. That coin
can fall both ways.
Omnis as a paid product, and as a result is a well funded product and
this means stability. I'm not so sure it can survive as an Open Source
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