What's the big deal about open source?

Whenever people ask me "what's the best way to get in to open source?", I have to question whether they have any idea what open source means :)

You just clone a project from GitHub, or create your own... right?

People see the open source projects they use, and they see the blog posts and books and schools that use these open source projects. They see the conferences that spring up around these projects, and the communities that organize them.

People see All This Stuff and think that open source is a Really Big Deal.

Open source is a big deal! It's just not such a big deal that you can't get in on the fun, right now.

What stops people from getting involved in open source? It ranges from "having no ideas" to the real fear of getting targeted by trolls.

Mostly though, people just don't see the value in pushing some code to GitHub. They miss out on all the benefits you get from a simple git push:

First, you have a backup! Get the basics out of the way, fast.

Second, you have one place to look at for your code. GitHub has great code browsing tools. You can click around and check things out all you want.

Third, OTHER people can check out your code, too. Some might come across it randomly, or you can direct them to it.

If you can see the value in it, you still might have a list of excuses for not making something open source. We'll talk about that another time.

What do you have on your computer that you could push to GitHub, right now?

For me it was this project called 'theology'from a few years ago - I have no idea what it was about!

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