James Mead by James Mead

Supporting open-source software

All of us at Go Free Range know that our careers and even the existence of the co-operative itself owe a lot to open-source software and the community around it. In particular we’ve used the Ruby programming language, the Ruby on Rails web framework, library hosting by Rubygems, and the Bundler package manager in many of our client and internal projects.

Members of GFR have authored a number of open-source projects, e.g. rails engines, printer, recap, edge-redirector and mocha. We also support the open-source community by reporting issues and submitting pull requests. We work in the open as much as possible and encourage our clients to do the same.

I want to give my colleagues and GFR a big shout-out for being hugely supportive of my work on mocha, the Ruby mocking library that I authored way back in 2006. At times, like many open-source maintainers, I’ve found this to be an onerous and thankless task. However, since mocha was used in Rails itself for many years and is still used in plenty of long-lived codebases, I still feel a responsibility to maintain it. I don’t think I would’ve managed to keep working on it without the support from GFR.

We’ve been reflecting on the debt we owe to the open-source community and investigating ways we could recognise this. It’s quite hard to work out how to do this effectively. In this article Chad Whitacre explains the difficulties Sentry had in donating to open-source projects. While projects like thanks.dev & StackAid are doing pioneering work in this area, they’re not really useful to us, because we’re not (yet!) a product company.

In the spirit of starting small, we’ve all decided to join Ruby Together as Developer members. We’ll make regular monthly payments to support work on Rubygems, Bundler, and other projects. We see this as the next step in our journey to support and appreciate the world of open-source software.

Please get in touch at @freerange@ruby.social on Mastodon or @freerange on Twitter if you have any suggestions on how else we could support open-source projects.

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