TODO - A New Group To Tell Open Source Programmers
Written by Mike James   
Wednesday, 17 September 2014

A new group, which currently includes big hitters like Facebook, Google, Twitter and GitHub, aims to tell open sourcers how to do it better.

In case you are wondering, TODO doesn't stand for to-do. It is supposed to be interpreted as standing for Talk Openly Develop Openly. Well that must have taken a few weeks of focus groups and creatives to invent. 



It is difficult to know what to think of this particular development in the open source landscape. Let's face it open source is about as diverse as it can possibly be, with projects ranging from something I thought up last weekend. implemented and then created a GitHub page for, to big projects that have teams of paid programmers working, and everything in between.

At all levels, the programmers working on open source tend to have a higher quotient of "doing it for fun, fulfilment and just the pleasure of programming"  than programmers working as pure wage slaves in cubicles fixing legacy software. OK, again there is a graded range of scenarios, but you get the general idea. 

So the idea is that a group of big companies, not all of which have played fair by open source in the past, yes Google I'm looking at you, should get together to tell open source programmers how to spend their (free) time. 

I can't imagine it happening in quite this way in any other area of endeavour. 

  • Hey you mountain climbers, we just got together to tell you how to do it better so that your climbs better suit our purposes. 

  • Your model railway layouts just aren't realistic enough for us to make use of them in movie special effects - please try harder and do it this way...

Make up your own example and post it as a comment please.

On the other hand, haven't you downloaded and installed some piece of open source software and just thought - why don't they do it different, it wouldn't be hard and it wouldn't need much change. 

Yes open software (perhaps any software) could be better so why not a guiding hand, a mentor say, to guide and encourage and ....

Again you can see where this is going. 

Open source software is both a hobby and a business. It is both an amusement and a serious enterprise. For the companies committed to open source software the TODO initiative isn't a bad idea.

At the moment the problem is that there isn't a clear statement of what the group will be doing. The closest we get is:

"We’re a group of companies with a common interest who have come together to help solve the problem of utilizing and releasing open source software."

Which presupposes that there is a clear "problem" in utilizing and releasing open source software.

The list of companies signed up makes it necessary to take TODO seriously. If they offer carrots rather than sticks then all well and good. If they offer sticks then it is likely to be TODO that ends up holding the wrong end. 


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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 September 2014 )