Back when I was starting to code several years ago. I picked up The Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric Raymond and I was blown away at the idea of free software. Just in case you are not familiar, free software as in freedom and not free beer. Free software back then was this super radical and idealistic concept whereas you make a software product commercial or not, but when you distribute it you include the source code of it. The person who got your product would eventually continue to develop it and it will evolve and continually improve as it gets to many users. You then will be looking at their version of your product and will see how it has grown further. Think of it as a community garden where everyone grows their vegetable and anyone would then take pointers on some of your crops and grow their improved version. Eventually, you’ll see where you are doing it wrong by looking at how they tend their garden. This is not necessarily free food for everyone – although it’s common. It’s the freedom to copy and use my garden set up so we have bigger crops next harvest time.
This is what happened to Linux, nodejs, Ruby, etc.. I’ve believed in it much so I joined Sourceforge joined a team, also started a project myself even. I followed this radical concept through the years and publish my projects openly on Github. It was fun and there is some sort of social acceptance when people see your ugly-looking code yet they accept it and submit their ugly-looking code as well.
Facebook, Apple, Google these companies are worth trillions of dollars, and they all at one point when they are still small companies depended on open source. Their founders built an MVP and took money from VCs and then had to responsibly return their money 10x. They eventually all cashed out and now driving luxury sports cars. Meanwhile present-day Linux desktop is still dead. Open source maintainers abandon projects due to lack of time and interest. They say why not just use GPL but if you license your code using GPL you will not have users. Developers can’t even share the name of the software they are putting your code into because of the NDA they signed. Sometimes it’s just a simple request like attribution and compliance is still uncommon.
Life as an open-source maintainer is sometimes a life threatening endeavor
Society, Conglomerates, and Capitalism killed free software and nobody cared. It’s all about 10x ROI and taking advantage of some poor idiot programmer clueless in business.