The burden of an Open Source maintainer

Or: Why can't you just merge my ten-line PR already?

I maintain over 200 open source projects. Apparently (this is news to me) I am ranked in the top 200 GitHub users by followers, and there are 18,000 forks and 42,000 stars across my repos.

On an average day, I see between 50-100 emails across my repositories for issues and pull requests, and I filter those down to about 5-10 that I deem worthy of a personal follow-up.

I merge between 5-10 Pull Requests per month, and commit new code or fixes around 166 times per month.

I'm one maintainer, in a tiny corner of the Internet, maintaining a small but broad set of projects from Ansible roles for infrastructure automation to a few small but still-used PHP and Node.js libraries.

Dealing with burnout

There have been a few times I've burned out. That's typical for many maintainers. You either learn coping strategies or burn out completely, and in the best case end up a woodworker or farmer. At least that's what I see most of the time.

My DevOps books are free in April, thanks to Device42!

Last month I announced I was going to make my books Ansible for DevOps and Ansible for Kubernetes available free on LeanPub through the end of March, so people who are in self-isolation and/or who have lost their jobs could level up their automation skills.

The response floored me—in less than two weeks, I had given away over 40,000 copies of the two books, and they jumped to the top of LeanPub's bestseller lists.

Ansible for DevOps purchases - free and paid
Purchases (over 99% with price set to 'free') of both books spiked within hours of the announcement.

Sponsor my Open Source development work on GitHub

tl;dr: You can now sponsor my open source development work via GitHub Sponsors.

GitHub sponsors geerlingguy

GitHub Sponsors is the latest foray into building a more sustainable future for open source software development. There have been many attempts before, a few of which I tried (Gratipay, Patreon, etc.), but most of them never reached a critical mass, and at most you'd end up getting maybe $20-50/month out of the platform. Another prolific open source contributor I've long followed wrote about the topic of open source support and developer burnout in a post this year, Webform, Drupal, and Open Source...Where are we going?.