Why I dislike open-source

Leo Liou
4 min readSep 30, 2021

Open-source model is a bad idea for the most part. One can come up with one or two reasons why open-source is good but for each of those reasons, I can give you 20 reasons why open source is not just a bad idea but an entirely ludicrous idea. To go through all these reasons, one needs to write a book, but since I am not interested in writing a book about the obvious, I will simply list few reasons why I do not do open source and why I believe it is a complete waste of time.

They are mostly (99% of the time) inferior to their proprietary counterparts

Gimp is inferior to photoshop. Blender is inferior to 3Ds Max, Modo, Maya and Z-brush. LMMS is inferior to FLStudio. Godot is inferior to Unity. The list goes on and on. In fact, open-source software is the poor man’s version of an actual software. Let us just say it is the “Aldi version” of real software. Wherever you find open-source software, they feel like and look like the knock-off version of the real thing. And should I say it? Yes! Linux is inferior to windows and mac!

Their standards are too low

This is similar to the above example. When there are no barriers or gate keepers. No boss to keep you on track, no interviews to screen out weak-links, no supervisors to right your wrongs, no one to get you fired, etc. It is no wonder the open source “community” has attracted some of the worst developers. From first day boot-campers to “experienced developers” who are just ill-adapted for the sport can simply join most projects and “contribute”. It is a laughable model.

No protection of intellectual property

“oh, bu.. bu.. but there are different licences that give you different permissions …. bla bla bla”. The real question is, who enforces this? There have been countless times where criminals under the guise of “developers” have shop-lifted other people’s code, slightly altered it, sold it, made money from it and nothing happened. I have even heard of paid versions of Blender. The problem is the very idea of open-source makes original developers vulnerable to this mess. Not only can someone steal your work and make money from it, they can do so without giving you credit.

A Toxic “Community” or cult

even the phrase “open-source community” itself is a joke. I have seen lots of times where self proclaimed 10x devs just sit and bash other people’s code. A community that is supposed to help bad or inexperienced coders will make you feel so bad by mocking you for writing bad code. There is even a subreddit for bad code. This is a counterproductive and self-defeating way of trying to promote this “community”.

Programmers should eat

Or maybe I should say, “good programmers should eat”. Pushing this idea that people should sit in front of their computers and code all day just to get some pat on the back by some code-bros or to get some Github stars is senseless. We know some people get into programming to lift themselves from poverty, some of these people are just not cut out for programming while some of them are. I think just like every other profession (Actors, Musicians, doctors, lawyers, etc), programmers deserve to charge good money for their work (Although, given the fact that most projects on Github are an absolute joke, most people might argue against or ignore this point).

Lack of support

I mean, what did you expect? A young Mr Lee who built a cool and promising open-source software as a new graduate at the time now needs money for that project he has been working on for 3 years. The illusion of coding for free all day because of passion has now been exposed. Bills need to be paid and new clothes need to be bought. Also, he has no girlfriend because he cannot even pay for a date at Starbucks. So he finally abandons that software and moves on to get a job.

Security Issues

Oh this is a big one. Open source software are known to be very insecure and not trustworthy. What did you expect? you didn't even pay for it. And … Hold on, who do you even hold responsible for damages?

Can I see your code bro?

Lol. Just about every developer in the open-source cult believes that any software out there, especially ones written by small team or a solo developer should be open source. The sense of entitlement and the desperation to see other people’s source code is getting more and more frightening. I’ll tell you how to respond to these people. Do not tell them reasons why you cannot make your project open-source, just ignore them entirely.

More problems with large and legacy code bases

Large legacy software require a team of people that have worked together on the project for a very long time. People who understand the history of the codebase and who can navigate the large codebase. Open-source does not have the means (pay, company culture, hierarchy) to keep a team of talented developer for a long time. These are the reasons why things fall apart and projects get abandoned.

Honestly, I could write a book on this. Open-source itself is just flawed and works for only specific types of projects or very small learning projects. Feel free to post your game-jam projects or that juicy todo app you just built using your new favourite language!