Packages in never never land


#1

I published over 20 packages and now I only have time to support a fraction of them. I’ve gone from retired to being in a startup and for some reason I have less spare time.

I’m having trouble deciding whether I should feel guilty or not. On one hand I’m causing users who need support a fair amount of trouble, but on the other hand the users who don’t have problems would not have the package if I hadn’t written it.

I’ve never believed the old adage that developers of free software owe their users nothing. Creating the software in the first place is a kind of promise. Some culture (don’t remember the one) believes that if you save a person’s life then you owe that person the rest of their life. That seems to have some relevance to my topic, not sure.

Anyway, recently I’ve only fixed problems when they affect me. Many will just work forever because they are so simple. I’ve put notices on some that they are no longer supported. I don’t think they should be removed from atom.io because they may still be useful to some. Also others may step in and support them. But I’m not sure about any of this.

So, do you think I should remove them, mark them as obsolete, or just put a notice on them that they currently have no support and need someone to support them?


#2

I’m somewhat middle of the road I guess. I believe that, as an author of open source software, I should at least communicate with users. If someone posts an Issue or Pull Request, I should respond with some sort of indication that at least it has been acknowledged. On the flip side, I also believe that nobody has the right to dictate my priorities. So if I don’t have time to work on something, then I don’t feel so bad about that.

Here’s what I would do:

  1. Leave the packages in the Atom package system
  2. Put a notice up in the README that you may not have time to (add features, address pull requests, respond to issues, etc)
  3. Remind people that they are free to fork your packages for their own purposes (if you feel that a little extra is necessary)

#3

That’s pretty reasonable.

I’m thinking that I have an as-is disclaimer, even on some new packages. It would say something like …


This software is AS-IS.
This package is not supported by the author. If you have a problem feel free to post an issue but it will not be addressed unless/until someone steps up to work on it. Enjoy …

Is there some way to make this message appear at the top of each issue instead of only in the readme? Some users go straight to the issues section.


#4

You can add a CONTRIBUTING.md to the repo and that will add a message at the top when submitting Issues and PRs that says to read the CONTRIBUTING document.