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Beliefs, behavioral patterns, thoughts, and institutions of the developer community.
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Drew Devault drewdevault.com

I’m going to work full-time on free software

A year ago Drew Devault laid out his future plans and path to sustainably working on open source full-time. Today, those plans have been realized. I don’t want to make grandiose promises right away, but I’m confident that increasing my commitment to open source to this degree is going to have a major impact on my projects. For now, my primary focus is sr.ht: its paid users make up the majority of the funding. Drew goes on to say how he’s making this leap before the needed income is actually there, so if you dig what he’s up to, you can play a part in making his choice a success. I need to clarify that despite choosing to work full-time on these projects, my income is going to be negative for a while. I have enough savings and income now that I feel comfortable making the leap, and I plan on working my ass off before my runway ends to earn the additional subscriptions to sr.ht and donations to fosspay et al that will make this decision sustainable in the long term.

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Chloe Condon medium.com

What it’s like to be a woman on the internet

Chloe Condon: Being a woman on the internet can be terrible sometimes. Unfortunately, me writing this article isn’t going to fix things overnight. We have a very long way to go until this awful behavior towards women online stops (and let’s face it- it likely never will). But I’m writing this article to shed light on an issue I think most folks (especially men) don’t see a whole lot of since it’s often behind-the-scenes and often only seen by the women who receive them and their partners/close friends. The creepy DMs, the gross messages from dudes on LinkedIn, the blog comments, and the “well actually”s on our tweets add up. It needs to stop. Chloe details a horrible story of harassment that unfolded this past week. It’s stories like these that get all of us fired up and upset, but Chloe’s reality reveals that she deals with similar things every single day. As she says later in the article, it’s the responsibility of men (myself included) to be allies and “call out this behavior if you see it happening.” It may also call for some self-reflection. Have I mistreated someone (maybe even without knowing it)? It’s always a good time to make changes and grow to be better humans.

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Flavio Copes freeCodeCamp

Every developer should have a blog (here's why, and how to stick with it)

Flavio Copes is a great person to take this advice from. He’s been blogging for “more than 11 years,” more or less consistently. In this post he covers not only what you need to know to be successful, but also what you need to forget. One of ways I learn best is by doing. I literally decide on a topic I think I know something about, and I drill down in a spiral loop through things I didn’t know, or I didn’t even think about. They say you never fully understand a topic until you are able to explain it. Blogging is a low barrier to explaining things.

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Ben Thompson stratechery.com

The economic realities of open source

Ben Thompson, one of the voices behind Exponent and writer at Stratechery, covered the economic realities of open source from a lens of the music industry. More specifically, Ben talked about how the music industry’s revenue, medium, and distribution relates to that of open source in today’s world where AWS, Microsoft or Google are able to make money off of open source like MongoDB and Redis without having to share any of that money with the developers of the open source. He describes this conundrum for open source companies: MongoDB leveraged open source to gain mindshare. MongoDB Inc. built a successful company selling additional tools for enterprises to run MongoDB. More and more enterprises don’t want to run their own software: they want to hire AWS (or Microsoft or Google) to run it for them, because they value performance, scalability, and availability. This leaves MongoDB Inc. not unlike the record companies after the advent of downloads: what they sold was not software but rather the tools that made that software usable, but those tools are increasingly obsolete as computing moves to the cloud.

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Andreas Klinger klinger.io

A crash course in managing remote teams

If you’re digging into the whole remote teams thing, then you’ll enjoy reading this crash course on building and managing remote teams from Andreas Klinger. You need to systemize communication and expectations. When I say processes, I don’t necessarily mean heavy-handed workflows, piles of paper and someone using a giant stamp confirming every action. I mean “systemized communication and expectations made explicit”. This can be as simple as: “We do check-ins every morning…” “Please before you do X always do Y…” These simple explicit agreements allow other people to expect those actions to happen and avoid unnecessary communication loops.

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Business Insider Icon Business Insider

Startups are going all-remote to lure top talent away from Silicon Valley

If you’re a listener of Founders Talk, you’ve heard first-hand the perspective of Zapier from co-founder Bryan Helmig when it comes to their remote-only workforce policy. In this story from Business Insider, Rosalie Chan covers not only Zapier, but also how GitLab and InVision are going all-remote, and how that’s playing into the exodus of top talent from Silicon Valley. In Silicon Valley, there’s a war constantly raging to recruit the very best talent. Startups and mega-corporations alike try to lure new recruits with the promise of lavish perks to go with their famously high salaries. By hiring only remote workers, though, startups are finding that they can bypass that battle altogether. Rather than go toe-to-toe with corporate giants in the major metropolitan areas, all-remote companies are finding success by recruiting from places that traditionally aren’t thought of as tech talent hubs.

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Virginia Balseiro freeCodeCamp

How I finished the entire freeCodeCamp curriculum in 9 months while working full time

Virginia Balseiro shared her story and experience of completing the freeCodeCamp curriculum last year. It wasn’t easy, I won’t lie. It helped that most of my friends and acquaintances don’t live near me, and I live in a small town that doesn’t offer a lot of entertainment opportunities. …I couldn’t just quit my job and study full time, since I needed to pay the bills, so I had to get really good at 3 things: Time management Discipline Organization Not only does Virginia share her experience and strategy, but also other supplemental resources she used on her freeCodeCamp journey.

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Paul Graham paulgraham.com

What business can learn from open source

Sometimes you need to look back in order to go forward. In this 2005 Paul Graham essay derived from his talk at OSCON that same year, Paul contrasts open source and blogging to extract wisdom for companies to follow. What’s more interesting is just how right this essay was, with the luxury of hindsight and history on our side today. …the biggest thing business has to learn from open source is not about Linux or Firefox, but about the forces that produced them. Ultimately these will affect a lot more than what software you use. Like open source, blogging is something people do themselves, for free, because they enjoy it. … People just produce whatever they want; the good stuff spreads, and the bad gets ignored. And in both cases, feedback from the audience improves the best work. In a world where the playing field is leveled and everyone has the same or similar access to share their ideas, ideas will “bubble up from the bottom, instead of flowing down from the top.” Well said Paul.

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Harj Taggar triplebyte.com

Choose where to work by thinking like an investor

Harj Taggar, former partner at Y Combinator and founder of Triplebyte, shared some really insightful wisdom on choosing a startup to work for… I believe that most advice on choosing a startup to work for is wrong. Early employees at wildly successful startups suggest you assume the value of your equity is zero and instead optimize for how much you can learn. In this post I’ll argue that evaluating how likely a startup is to succeed should actually be the most important factor in your decision to join one. As a former partner at Y Combinator, I know a lot about how investors do this. What do you think? How have you made choices like this in the past?

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Dan Abramov Increment

The melting pot of JavaScript

Dan Abramov, writing for Increment: Unconstrained by a single vendor, the JavaScript ecosystem closely reflects human culture. It is inventive, incremental, messy, assimilating everything on its way, and ubiquitous. I’ll be honest: I love the melting pot of JavaScript. And while there’s no denying that it’s harder for beginners now to get into it than it was for me five years ago, I believe there are a few things we can do to make it more approachable. But first, let’s see how the JavaScript ecosystem came to be this way. Whether are weighed down by JavaScript fatigue or revved up about the JavaScript renaissance, you’ll probably enjoy this insightful piece all about the melting pot that we call JS.

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Brett Cannon snarky.ca

An update on Python's governance

We’ve been following along as the Python community figures out how to live that post-BDFL life. We’ll do a show on the subject once the dust to settles. In the meantime, here’s Brett Cannon on what they’ve figured out so far: In the end PEP 8016, the steering council proposal, won. The details of the vote are available, but the key thing is that the PEP clearly won no matter what way you calculated the winner and it was a decisive win against second place. Read Brett’s entire piece to really wrap your head around things. Nominations for the steering council start on January 7th with voting to follow on the 21st.

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Divya Sasidharan shortdiv.com

All eyes on Wasm

We’re tracking the activity around Wasm quite well, but we’re open to more suggestions if you have them. In this post Divya shares some insights and the big idea behind Wasm. It is undeniable at this point that WebAssembly is (and will be) a huge game changer for web development. As a lower level language, it efficiently handles more computationally heavy tasks and allows us to so more, with less. Though we’re still in the early stages of WASM, the future looks bright.

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Mark Bates Medium

My name is Mark and I have mental illness

I just want to say thank you to my friend Mark Bates who shared some deeply personal details about his struggles with a mental illness he suffers from called Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD). I can only imagine how much courage it took Mark to share this very personal matter with the world. Thank you Mark. As we enter the holiday and end of year season, it’s important for those who are in a state of depression, suffering, or feeling alone to know that you may feel alone, but you are not alone. As Mark said, you don’t have to “suffer in silence.” The first step in getting help is an awareness that there is a problem and a determination to seek help. mentalhealth.gov/get-help — is a great resource for those looking to find that help. If you are with someone whom you believe has a mental illness I offer you this advice: You can help make them aware of their illness, but you can’t make them seek treatment unless they are ready.

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Eduards Sizovs sizovs.net

Stop learning frameworks. Learn fundamentals.

Eduards Sizovs shares advice that changed his life, how that advice helped him to remove all framework books from his bookshelf and in the process shrank his “guilt pile” of books to read from 50 to 0! Time is the most precious resource we have. Time is limited, nonrenewable and you cannot buy more of it. Technology, like fashion, is changing at the speed of light. To catch up, we need to run very fast. This race has no winners because it has no end. Fast forward to the advice part and Eduards shares this from a conversation between with his mentor… Mentor: “Technologies come and go, but it has a lot in common. Set priorities right. Invest 80% of your learning time in fundamentals. Leave 20% for frameworks, libraries and tools.”

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Justin Jackson justinjackson.ca

Can you grow a startup on the side? Justin Jackson is trying...

In this post Justin Jackson shares his struggles, doubts, and uncertainties about where to take his startup. Sometimes we put too much financial pressure on a startup too soon and it fails — not because of lack of product/market fit, but because of financially poor choices. It’s been exciting to build and grow our app on the side. But it’s also been hard. With hundreds of paying customers, we’re dedicating more of our time to serving them. But, the business isn’t earning enough to pay us for our time. It’s been particularly challenging for me. Since 2016, I’ve supported myself with M4Devs and other courses. But my revenue’s fallen this year as I’ve dedicated more time to Transistor.

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Vitaly Friedman Smashing Magazine

Don’t pay to speak at commercial events

Vitaly Friedman, Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder of Smashing Magazine, breaks down the broken state of commercial web conferences saying: The state of commercial web conferences is utterly broken. What lurks behind the scenes of such events is a widely spread, toxic culture despite the hefty ticket price. And more often than not, speakers bear the burden of all of their conference-related expenses, flights, and accommodation from their own pockets. This isn’t right, and it shouldn’t be acceptable in our industry. …the general expectation is that speakers should speak for free as they’ve been given a unique opportunity to speak and that neither flights nor expenses should be covered for the very same reason. The details of this post from Vitaly go much deeper than what I’ve shared here. I highly recommend taking 22 minutes to read this.

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Bryan Cantrill dtrace.org

Open source confronts its midlife crisis

This op-ed from Bryan Cantrill (CTO at Joyent) goes deep into the details around “service providers’ parasitic relationship with open source,” and the other concerns around open source makers shifting to use licenses like commons clause and others designed to restrict service providers from developing commercial products from their open source. Lots of thoughts shared around the subject and many links as well, so — get to digging.

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Adam Jacob Medium

We need sustainable free and open source communities

Adam Jacob (co-founder and creator of Chef) tldr’d his ideas to create sustainable free and open source communities by saying, “we should stop focusing on how to protect the revenue models of open source companies, and instead focus on how to create sustainable communities.” He says this will lead to better software, and that it’s also better for business. In addition to this post, Adam also wrote a short book. When I say “Sustainable Open Source Community”, I mean the following: A unified body of individuals, scattered throughout a larger society, who work in support of the creation, evolution, use, and extension of free and open source software; while ensuring its longevity through meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the community of the future to meet its own needs.

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Ferdy Christant ferdychristant.com

The state of web browsers

Should I read this 22 minute read on the state of web browsers? Sure. Count me in! Microsoft has confirmed the rumor to be true. We now have one less browser engine, and a last man standing (Firefox) in deep trouble (reasons below). … The web now runs on a single engine. There is not a single browser with a non-Chromium engine on mobile of any significance other than Safari. Which runs webkit, kind of the same engine as Chromium, which is based on webkit.

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Henrik Warne henrikwarne.com

Lessons learned while being a developer on call (for 10 years)

Being on call isn’t that bad if you find ways to learn from it and make it worth your time and effort. Henrik covers to “why’s”, alarms and alerting systems, and even compensation and scheduling. Henrik writes: For most of the past ten years, I have been on organized on call rotations for the systems I have been developing. I think being on call is a logical way of taking responsibility for your work. You also learn a lot from it. However, it is stressful and an inconvenience, so you should get paid for it.

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Derek Jones expressionengine.com

ExpressionEngine is now open source (open source has won)

This hits close to home — I was a heavy user/developer around ExpressionEngine from 2006-2008. I’m happy to see them come around to embrace an open source model. When Rick Ellis, founder of EllisLab, was asked on Twitter “Why open source?” he simply said: Open source has won. It’s not even a contest anymore. Here’s a note shared with us from Derek Jones, CEO of EllisLab: [ExpressionEngine] a popular commercial CMS with 15 years of continuous development has taken a huge leap and gone open source after watching the closed-source CMS market continue to shrink while simultaneously getting more crowded.

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Arun Venkatesan arun.is

Why are tech companies making custom typefaces?

The most obvious reason is cost. Developing a custom typeface can eliminate the recurring licensing fees that must be paid to foundries. IBM and Netflix claim to save millions of dollars per year by switching from Helvetica to IBM Plex and Gotham to Netflix Sans, respectively. I hadn’t considered the on going costs of licensing as a factor, but it totally make sense. Although, that’s not where Arun ends this. He goes into the much finer details of the typefaces, the medium, how screen types have changed, and more. Companies like Apple and Samsung, with their wide portfolio of digital and physical products and services, have united their brands and products under a singular typeface. Apple went further and didn’t just work within the numerous constraints posed by both the digital and physical world. In creating San Francisco, it reinvented how type is rendered altogether. I dig the question Arun ends with, “Should custom typefaces exist?”

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