Re: The happinesses and stresses of full-time FOSS work

Daniel Long Sockwell
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Hi Drew,

After reading "The happinesses and stresses of full-time FOSS work", I
have a fairly naive question.  I hope you won't take this as some sort
of "gotcha" question intending to prove you wrong – instead, it's
coming from a place of wanting to understand the challenges of full-time
FOSS work (something I aspire to).

So, here's the question: given that so much of the stress you talk about
comes from being so busy, why don't you just work less?

I know that many of your projects were already released and that you
feel strong desire to fix bugs and add features that your users want.  I
can fully understand where that pressure – even if largely self-imposed
– comes from.

On the other hand, you've also blogged about having started a number of
new projects over the last year.  For example, you mention himitsu; from
an external perspective, it seems that you could have just *not* started
work on himitsu this year.  (Don't get me wrong — himitsu seems like an
*awesome* project.  I'd love to be able to move away from using gnupg as
the backend for pass.  But, from the outside, it seems like himitsu
could easily have been a 2020 or 2021 project.)

So, what am I missing?  Is the busyness less stressful than it sounds in
your post?  (You mention having "mixed feelings", but the description of
your schedule sounds fairly brutal.)  Or are projects like himitsu a
source of stress *release* that is just as good as/better than exercise
and social time with friends?  Or is there something else about the
dynamic that I'm just not appreciating from the outside?

Thanks for your time (and your many contributions!)


Re: The happinesses and stresses of full-time FOSS work

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Hi Daniel,

I can't fill in for Drew here, but I'd love to add my thoughts based on my experience with similar endeavors.

The suggestion for /working less/ is pretty involved, where working less simply leads to duties that build up quickly, and when these duties are not dropped/forgotten, catching up on these duties can lead to burn out... or at the very least one will acquire a larger distaste for doing them.

Starting a new project doesn't necessarily add time to the required tasks on hand. The tasks on hand in Drew's case, as he detailed, extends much beyond just writing software and extends into management, support, maintenance, and PR on top of running a company (executive duties, accounting, etc).

More contributors does help with the burden from the writing software roles, however filling those managerial and executive duties takes much more than a willing volunteer - in most cases: mutual trust, financing, and coordination.