Remember to be nice

Signal is seeing a jump in activity after WhatsApp recently made adjustments to their privacy policy. Coming from a paid, closed source, feature rich application like WhatsApp to an open source app like Signal can be a little jarring. Where is that favourite feature of mine? Why haven’t they prioritized it? So Signal has to come out and remind people in the community to be nice. The developers only have so much free time.

Open source software quite literally powers everything we do in the technology sphere (my site included), yet it is such an under appreciated facet of our world. Consumers (as in “using the open source project” sense, not a more capitalist definition) expect the same level of features and support that funded and closed source projects have, yet forget that the majority of open source development work is done in limited free time. It’s a form of volunteerism that is not recognized enough.

Work that developers put into their projects is literally a labour of love. They aren’t being paid to do this. They care so much that they provide their work, free of charge, because they care about you — the consumer.

It can be hard to remember that there is a human on the other end. Treat those developers with fairness, kindness, and above all — respect. They are taking their valuable free time to make your life a little easier.