Jordi Boggiano

Behind the Scenes of
Maintaining an Open Source Project

Composer / Packagist




Lifetime of a Project

1. Excitement

2. Commodification

3. Maintenance

Facets of Maintenance


Did you ever have to compromise because of a deadline at work?

OSS projects often have
a budget of zero

What key challenges do integrators face when working with pull requests?


Work life balance

Weekday developer

Me in 2013

Me in 2014

Learn to identify burnout early

Avoid wasting collective time

Close your issues if you fixed them



But all in all I am lucky

[...] I get hate mail for hacking on Open Source. People have started multiple "petitions" on petition web sites, asking me to stop working [...] people started collecting Bitcoins to hire a hitman for me (this really happened!). Just the other day, some idiot posted a "song" on youtube, a creepy work, filled with expletives about me and suggestions of violence. People post websites about boycotting my projects, containing pretty personal attacks. [...]

source: post by Lennart Poettering, systemd maintainer

The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.

- Gruenter and Whitaker

Open Source Code of Conduct

Do not get dragged into
flamewars by angry people

[...] So obviously this obvious point does NOT elude you, you just don't want to do it because of your own stupid opinions. Again, just because you wrote it in your free time doesn't mean you escape the criticism.

- Angry person on GitHub

Criticism != Abuse


Ask why if you do not
understand a PR fully

Pull requests should respect the project's CS

Ask before doing
massive / controversial PRs



Add a human touch,
say thank you

Submit good issue reports:
what and why

Public figures need to be
aware of their reach



Small PRs matter,
encourage them


Small PRs matter,
but there are no small PRs

Be patient

There are no small contributions

Do not be afraid

It is not all about code

Help triaging issues, etc

Don't know what to work on?

Find something that annoys you

Let's sum up

OSS is more than
making code available for free

OSS is more than
downloading free code

OSS is also..

reviewing pull requests and giving feedback

answering feature requests and issues

encouraging people to contribute

having docs, a README, a CHANGELOG

reporting issues you encounter

community work (stackoverflow, irc, ..)

Maintaining projects
can be tough

Take a break instead of quitting

Open source is a process
we all are a part of

Thank you.