Journey in The OpenSource’s Center

That’s a translation of the italian version of this article that can be found here.

Some days ago I found the meaning of making open source software.

At this point, many readers will have closed the article. That’s why I ask you to wait a little bit because the real meaning of the previous phrase was not the literal one.

All started some months ago, when I published my first “source code”, even if it’s not the best definition, on GitHub. The source code was the one of the website. It was a pretty bad-looking website, even if I’ll struggle to admit that, in its first version.

The Github mascot: the Octodex

Let’s face it: the visualization area was tight, the menu was huge without an appropriate meaning and all the things that you would expect to see in the footer were on the menu — even them without a meaning. It was a not a demanding site to make, with an HTML structure to re-build, the classes had strange names, often shorten, with the consequence that I was the only person to understand them (And Moreno did let me know it, in its way).

It was a “noob” website, with all the common beginner errors, like one that works hard but the results are as visible as if they are playing hide-and-seek. Not that the second version of the website was that better, but at least we’ve done a truly responsive website and with a decent visualization area.

Imaging the OpenSource as a Swiss Army knife is not a bad idea

Errors apart we published the code, all excited like it was fair to be, proud like a 500€ lottery winner in a small village of 200 citizens. Let’s sum up saying that the atomic bomb was a digestive for us. Unfortunately, I was not conscious of what I was doing, or maybe yes, but not of its meaning and what it would have involved. I have to specify that I knew what publishing a source code means, but I have never tried the consequences of that. And believe me, they need to be tried.

At that time I didn’t know that: for me, they were only files put somewhere around so that someone could consult them.

All changes when, some days ago, a guy contacts me. After a not-so-long chat, we start talking about a website that he made for a well-known YouTuber that has over 150 thousand subscribers and he sends me the link. When I opened it something seemed strange to me. “I’m sure I have seen this website before” I was saying to myself, with a stupidity explainable only with a sleepless night, even if it was not. Luckily my only neuron left awake could connect to my memory and, as I live and breathe, it was the website with different colors!

The Open Source community

That day I understood the true meaning of the Open Source movement. That super-kind guy did that website modifying my GitHub repository!

I was so excited and proud of myself: I understood that OpenSource doesn’t mean only “the source is open”, but way more. It means helping people, collaborate, share. I’m even happier that I could tell that discovery, telling you what it means, in order to make you understand what it really means. There’s not so much to describe. It’s a unique sensation, that luckily I can say to have tried.

In conclusion, and take me as a foolish if you want, but I have just discovered the true meaning of OpenSource.