More Means Less

Less is more it is said, and I can certainly subscribe to the reverse: more means less. The two primary open source projects I spend time in have been growing the last years, in source code contributions, but also in amount of users and in amount of contributors. I see the similar effects on myself and on my own role in both Rockbox and curl: I do more and more coordination, planning, admin work, talk (chatting on IRC, responding to mails etc) and “guidance” than actual coding work. My code/non-code work ratio has decreased massively.

This is not complaint, just an observation!

It makes sense to me that early on in a project, and until there’s enough momentum to get the project to more or less drive itself, it is important with a driving core that pushes the project forward. That makes sure every little peace fits together and gets the proper attention to make it a good product and project. As time goes by, more and more people get that knowledge, that ability and the amount of people that drive the project forward increases.

So being an “elderly” in both these projects, I’m more of an advisor, talker, tinker, admin, than a lead programmer now. This is at least most notable in Rockbox, since we have 80 committers now and I think at least 50 of them are active.

I probably spend roughly the same amount of time: somewhere around 2-3 hours/day on my open source projects.

Of course, in my particular case exactly now, I’ve also just recently ramped up my working hours and find myself trying to get accustomed to this life with full-time work, a two-kids-and-wife family and several time-consuming spare time projects. It takes a great deal of juggling and less sleeping.

Nothing is forever so I’m certain my situation will change over time. I’m determined to continue hacking in both projects. And my juggling skills will improve…

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