Federating burnouts: FOSS, communities and why everything sux

Disclaimer: please spare me your "not all xxx" discourse and go drink a tea, paw yourself, or whatever else than that.

Also this thing is just a big rant, poorly written, and I don't care, I want to say what I have to say and I have the right to.

I've worked on some softwares I've made or forked in the past, but they were made by me, for my own needs, and were only used by me (autowx: Automated reception & decoding of polar passing weather satellites, git.txt: FOSS alternative to Github Gists, CuteCW: A Morse Code Training Application, ham radio web app QSO logging, some web-apps related to ADSB and AIS, etc.) and that's ok, they are my tools, and they live happily with one update per year without issue.

The fediverse is another story. People wants to have everything federating and ok, it might be a good idea.

I've been working on reel2bits since the 31 december of 2016 at least. In the meantime, the fediverse came around, and I've seen people wanting to federates podcasts, so I thought of adding federation to it, which the implementation started on the 5 Aug 2018.

In a year, the basis for federation was added (pleroma/mastodon could subscribe to users on reel2bits and be notified of new tracks), a brand new frontend was designed with the help of a very good designer, the whole backend got refactored to be used with a SPA front with oauth2, and documentation was written (how to contribute, install docs, docker). And of course, lot of testing…

I have others projects to work on, my life to handle (and I have health issues to resolve, which takes time), and a project looking dead is "not interesting" (don't lie, you well know that) to either use or contribute to.

So I've asked for help, multiple times, and burned out, multiple times, because everything except the design was done by me and only me, without any help.

After three years of development, I don't work a lot on it anymore, if at all. I spent way too much of time, sanity, and money, and it just doesn't spark joy for me anymore.

And my conclusion is:

  • Everything sux
  • People wants to consume, not contribute
  • FOSS is classist and full of priviledged peoples

Everything sux because ActivityPub is just an idea on how to make a protocol, there is no real "how to federate between apps" spec made in common by softwares, there is no test suite, there is nothing except "The Mastodon Standard" dictated by one and only one person, and badly documented.

People wants to consume, not contribute: I can get a lot of repeats for my ask for help, people being like "super ! I want that", etc, but it stopped there (besides a good designer which really helped me making the application look great).

You can have success if you have a big name behind you to make your marketing material and get voices for you.

The "big" FOSS/decentralise advocates accounts will only make comments/publish news/repeats the already-big-established-apps, you will never see a small project on their feeds.

You are priviledged enough to work full time or have lot of time to work your app ? Wonderful, people will cheer that.

You are disabled and wants help ? Good luck.

Getting help is impossible, getting visibility is impossible, even with a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) no-one will care.

Lots of people wants to stop having BDFL in their communities, they wants further smaller apps, to have more choice, but in reality, small projects gets pushed in a corner.

What's the point of working on FOSS projects when you have health issues and everything around you pushes you to the exit door ?