Thursday, November 19, 2009

Open Source Coding Hiatus


Where have you been?

So lately I've been occupied by a few things:
  • Family issues
  • Working for a startup company
  • University bureaucracy
  • Jobhunting
Which is not to say I've been without free time. What have I been using my free time for?
  • Studying natural languages more in-depth
  • Reading technical books, and inspiring books
  • Being with friends, having fun and discussing the near and long-term future
So where does this leave open-source coding, for which I've even been given the honor of being listed as author for a great project like Amarok? After all, I have a vested interest in continuing to improve something I spent so much time on. I'll explain a few factors of the times that I've tried to get back into coding for it.

Have you been coding in secret?

The nice thing about using git for development is that I can continue to work on a feature or large fix on the side, and then deploy it when ready. That said, this is the cycle I usually go through when I feel I'm going to have enough time and effort to code on Amarok:

  1. git pull
  2. make install
  3. Check out new stuff
  4. Figure out what I want to fix/add/work on
  5. Start working on it in a git branch
  6. Realize after a few hours, that this is going to take 1-2 weeks of dedicated coding, and stop.
I then may come back in a week or two, delete the old branch because I feel I was going about things the wrong way, and repeat this cycle. This is by no means productive, but is something I end up getting caught in lately.

Clearly this doesn't work, so what now?

So this time around I'm trying something new. I'm fully-documenting the issues I want fixed and how to go about them, and sitting on them a bit to see if I can mature them before coding. Also I'm trying to break them up into doable smaller pieces, so I can at least get checkpoints in progress, otherwise this isn't going to work at all.

And in the immediate future?

I am now entering my last two trimesters of undergraduate studies before graduation. Between work, school and family, I highly doubt I'll have the motivation to work on open source on the side. I'm aware there are others who can do this, and have that motivation, and I look up to and respect them, but I lack that. I hope that this next summer, I'll find myself more motivated and free.