Contributing to free software requires privilege. Even regular contributors might sometimes find themselves without it.
Time, focus and money. You might find yourself lacking in one of these at various points in your life.
While software projects from startups move like streams, most free software projects move like glaciers. They move slowly but they keep moving for decades.
Being away from a project doesn't mean you have to give it up. You can join back later.
@njoseph People throw the word ‘privilege’ around too liberally, in my opinion. I fail to see how having a little free time per week is a privilege.
I mean, I don’t have as much free time as I had when I was younger, and people who have families to take care of have even less time than I do, but that’s just normal, and each situation comes with their own perks to make up for the differences. When I was younger I had more time, but no money. Now I have money, but less time. There is no privilege involved. Just trade-offs.
@josemanuel @njoseph oh bug off. there's no way in the world I'd have been able to contribute to FOSS to the extent I have if my jobs weren't supportive, and I don't even have any dependents. to the point I had to basically take a full year or longer off because work was actively obstructing me from working in FOSS and the time I was trying to spend on it was burning me out, so I just ended up feeling guilty and awful all the time.
I frequently think about how lucky I am that after working in this field for a decade, I'm finally being paid full-time to work on an upstream project.
@ehashman How is any of that a privilege? Are you so eager to get along with the ‘privilege’ narrative that you’re willing to deny all the hard work you put out to get where you are? “Nah, it was all privilege. I just had the privilege to get supportive jobs and not have a family. And now I get paid to do what I love because of those privileges I had. I didn’t really do anything.”
The thing is, I contribute to free software in my spare time. I am content to do so to the extent my life permits. I don’t feel privileged at all and I don’t think I should. I mean, would someone who enjoys, I don’t know, doing arts and crafts have to feel like they’re privileged for being able to? It’s just a hobby. I do it because I enjoy it. That’s all.
@josemanuel @njoseph I work my ass off. It is also accurate to say that privilege is a huge factor in being able to land the jobs I've had, and that my paid work is the main reason that I can make such contributions. It's further true that it probably took me an extra few years to get here compared to the average FOSS contributor because of who I am.
I've watched very smart and capable people be gatekept and railroaded because they don't fit in. Tech worker pay can be life-changing, and that can pose a risk to the status quo. Thus, it's mainly rewarded to those who fit the mold, even when others are far more competent but don't fit in, because they risk upsetting the system.
This view is coloured by my perspective as an immigrant to the US, where I've seen how the Silicon Valley venture capitalists shape tech, how in spite of my skills I am frequently set up to fail, and how workers in this country cannot opt out of paid jobs, often with large companies, because health care is attached to them.
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