Embracing the FOSS Value System

I understand every one has a right to opinion on FOSS, which is one its greatest stength. But we need not think of opensource from the perspective of code alone, there are several ways in which one could contribute, and one of them is the way discourse has done, here. For me, personally, Opensource(or FOSS, as I call it) is a quintissential value system, that should have the following attributes.

Community over Individual

We have to put the community that you are engaging with always, and at all times first. So as a maintainer(or champion) of the opensource project, you would need to follow a course that is at any times welcoming and enriching. This would mean you work towards getting rid of bad actors yet refrain be being judgemental, always basing your jubdgements on the current transaction rather than carrying bagages of previous transactions while dealing with situations of concern. This is a great community oriented code of conduct.


Should shun the drive to exclusiveness at all times, though our goal might be to build that superstar project. If we are not inclusive of weighing everyone on the right scale, we really should rethink about it. Provide the same level of attention irrespective of, who is speaking, who is commiting, or who is writing, however radical that might seem; you never know where your next star contributor is hidden. So please choose a good ground rules to put this in place so we value people more than code. This might help for the starters.

Share without Barriers

Remember if there is something to share, share it in the open, it might be an opinion, a documentation, or a piece of code. This is quite important, the more you share the more the feedback you will get. Be wary, that your opinion are not targetted at people but rather at artifacts, and set a culture for that. The barriers you need to break through this sharing should make people feel important, welcomed and respected.

Responsibility over Accountability

This one is the most trickiest part of the FOSS value system, where it is important for people to feel more responsible than accountable. From my standpoint there are three angles to that, empathy, ownership, and time. Practicing empathy will enable you to understand, how others feel about something, and they too will follow, similarly feel the same with you, to understand their responsibility on anything. Transferring ownership, is not just saying, "You will own this", but rather saying, "You are welcome to work on this", so that it breeds a sense of belonging first and coupled with empathy, ownership will follow. Why time? Because it takes time for both empathy and ownership to be transeferred across.


I would put this as a central piece of the entire value system of FOSS. Accepting your own limitations, just because you started the project does not give you mastery. In accepting and understanding people's limitations, you will start to be courteous towards them. Be always clear about your motives on the project's roadmap, yet keep it open for discussion, and the discussions open(no "let's take it offline"). Your acceptance of faults in the open, will open others to accept their own. Appreciate genuinely, yet being wary of not going overboard(saying, "Good job!", is enough).

FOSS projects are Living systems. They flourish on values rather than on rules. So I hope these values will resonate in all your projects in life and in code.

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