My early experience with programming was in GMod. This was 2006-2012.

Addons are written in Lua and are released as unobfuscated source (though, that may have changed with Workshop support). I learned a lot by reading and modifying other people's code.

While releasing modified versions of addons made by others was frowned upon, I feel like the community was very receptive of inexperienced young people. There was a general air of helpfulness and collaboration. Everyone was making cool stuff for its own sake. There was no profit motive involved.

Just wanted to put this out there. :) I mostly agree with you about the questionable motives behind the modern almost-sort-of-demand for open source software. But there are communities out there (I think most modding communities are like this?) that have a completely different take on releasing code.

Expand full comment

In short, I don't have a problem with communities like that. Good-faith, totally-free, open-source communities arise organically, and hobbyists do not *need* to be motivated by profit, just like someone playing video games does not need to be motivated by profit (because indeed, their hobby is "funded" by their own, or someone else's, surplus wealth). But I don't think that model can be truly competitive nor produce the wider change the software world needs, which is why it has failed to do so for decades, and why software is in the decaying state that it's in.

Expand full comment

FOSS absolutism leads to the situation we have now where a swathe of tech companies are built on FOSS software, operating for-profit, whilst the original authors fail to receive a few meagre voluntary PayPal donations.

Expand full comment