Remember the old days, when we argued over open licences, and when we wrongfully assumed that Open Source had some form of moral superiority, like software lived in a vaccum unaffected by the events in the modern world.
The reality is that never ever existed. Open Source has always been simply a process for authoring software in a transparent way. It always had toxic individuals, and these toxic individuals sent the message that the only way to get anything done was to also be toxic. That was the way things were done on most open source projects, and until Code of Conducts were introduced, it was the norm. These people would constantly try to carve fiefdoms for their companies, and there are many people I’ve made enemies of over the years that I would love to shove under a bus.
However, this post isn’t about that. This post is about now, not about the beefs I’ve had over the past decade and how it’s absolutely absurd to insist on deadlines, and that things are normal in open source when you have companies like Microsoft owning GitHub and having business dealings with the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who lock people into cells and make sure that they contract COVID-19 as a punishment for not being born American. This post is to tell people in the tech industry that it’s totally normal to not be excitied about tech now, because that technology is actively killing the world. It’s amazing how the same people who hate Facebook can love both React and PyTorch, which are both, essentially Facebook products. But it’s OK, because they’re Open Source. Or how people cheerlead for using AWS because it makes their lives easier while it centralizes the Internet on main data centers in the United States owned by Jeff Bezos. The fact is that there is no real tech industry anymore, there’s nothing but the tech giants and the hope that your tiny startup can get eaten by them. If you can’t figure out a way to make these companies money, you basically aren’t going to make any money in tech.
It’s really hard to be super stoked about a new feature for a phone when people of colour (mostly Black in the US, mostly Indigenous in Canada) are constantly profiled, attacked and killed by the police. It’s hard to feel good when all your neighbours are moving out to avoid getting evicted because of the global pandemic making them all unemployed. It’s hard to stay in your lane, make sure that you commit that code, and make sure that you send your pull requests and review the others.
I’m here to tell you right now that the pull request can wait.
It’s far more important for you to do what you need to do to get through the day. Whether it’s to go to the gym to blow off steam because you’re upset from the most recent police brutality video your friend recorded of your local police department mowing down a cyclist for a bylaw infraction, or whether it’s crying because you just can’t deal with all the bad news coming down at once. Whether it’s donating to causes, planning an action, planning a vacation to run in the woods, or whatever it is to just SIMPLY GET TO THE END OF THE DAY.
The pull request can wait, do the other thing first.
There will be people constantly going on about deadlines, about how there are deliverables at the end of the quarter, and how you need to make sure that you’re able to ship the product. They’ll constantly remind you of the timelines, and that you need to accomplish all your tickets at the end of the sprint and review all the pull requests that come in.
Honestly, you can tune those people out, the pull request can wait.
If the pull request can’t wait, then it’s your job against your own well being. It’s your job versus your health, it’s your job treating you like a machine instead of as a human being. You should probably save your money, look for a new job and make the leap, and of course, at the end of the day, when you look out for you….
The pull request will wait.