#44 Learning How Open Source Works

Posted on Thursday, Jun 18, 2020
Let’s consider this episode a bit of a primer (I pronounce that as prime-er, is that right? Or is it primm-er?) on how the whole open source development process works. Share it with your creative friends who need a little bit of schooling on how things work.

Show Notes

Here’s the deal. With the various things like Epic’s megagrants and some of the accelerated development action happening around projects like Blender and Krita, some creatives who haven’t been exposed to how the rest of the world does open source might mistakenly convince themselves that something has shifted fundamentally with how open source developers are handling things.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The fact of the matter is that successful open source development models rely heavily on an actively participating userbase. And when I say “participating” I don’t mean just using the software or mouthing off on a forum or social media. It’s about becoming a material part of the development process, typically with either developer time, or money to fund developer time. Also, when I say “userbase”, I also include commercial companies.

See, in the rest of the world where open source is used, companies join in with the development process. Like individual developers, they “scratch their own itch”, but they do it by hiring programmers on their team to extend and maintain open source code for their needs (and, like good citizens, push general code back upstream to the main project). The world has operated like this for years (I daresay decades), but it seems like only within the last couple of years has the various entertainment industries that use creative software gotten themselves clued in to how this works.

Unfortunately, even if the companies are starting to get it, some of our creative colleagues maintain an inaccurate understanding of the changes that have been happening. With any luck, this episode (rambling as it may be) can help straighten them out.

That’s the idea anyway. Share it around. And certainly give me a shout directly to let me know what you think about this. I’d love to share some listener feedback.


Jason van Gumster

Jason van Gumster

“I make stuff. I make stuff up. On occasion, I stuff-up what I make. I don’t do much stuff with make-up… though I’m not above trying. I work in all kinds of media: words, animation, ink, coffee, wood, video. And, of course, I’m really passionate about open source and open content, so that’s what I talk about in this show. Books I’ve written and other creative experiments I’ve made can be seen on monsterjavaguns.com.”