Hacktoberfest 2020

by George Y. Kussumoto

Open-source changed my life and I'll always be grateful for the amazing things provided by the community. The Hacktoberfest aims to support open-source development while also providing a nice swag. I've joined all the festival editions, but for 2020 I'm not feeling particularly motivated to complete it.

Perhaps it's the pandemic situation that we are living right now. A "good" side-effect (if we can say that) is the awareness of the political and social impact of what we do is amplified. Mostly because the internet became "the definitive" communication channel and how bad a lot of countries are handling the whole thing. We are now facing the consequences of decades of technology innovation, ignorance, and poorly defined regulations. Could the problems be predicted?

Github (or should we say Microsoft?) is the market-leading platform where open-source happens. Microsoft successfully adapted to the new times, it's weird to remember the time they used FUD as a strategy against Linux and now is one of the top companies in open-source contributions. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Questions like the ICE contract and U.S. restrictions on Github concerns me. It gives me that feeling of "that's not what I signed up for". In the software development culture, we talk a lot about diversity and inclusion but our technology is going in the opposite direction. Funny enough, we preach for more diverse people to develop a less diverse market.

We can think about alternatives like Gitlab and I'm glad they exist. The sad thing is the massive dominance of Github over any competitor, the same pattern can be found with web browsers, search engines, and many other domains. I wonder if the alternatives are real or if they only exist to prevent monopoly. We definitely should be more aware of how a small group of companies controls software development from the text editor to the end user-machine.


That's all my swag from the previous editions. You can look at it and call me a hypocrite and I'm fine with that.

In the same way that we all know what's behind the festival, I still think this is a great way to enter the open-source community and I can't stress enough how beneficial it is. If you allow me a piece of advice: make it work for you. Generate "profit" as companies do, you can land a new job opportunity, improve your CV, learn new technology, and meet awesome people. It can also work the other way around and make you realize that some projects/people are just not so cool as you thought. Don't do it just for fun, do it for fun and something else.

Anyway my friend, choose wisely and again, happy coding!

~ 🤘