Luke Melia


February 28, 2006

Tracks 1.04 released, and open source perspectives

I’ve been contributing code to an open source project called Tracks. It’s a web-based tool that helps people implement the Getting Things Done system (previously mentioned here).

The application is written in Ruby on Rails, a delightful framework for building web apps that is making waves in the web development world. One of the things I enjoy most about helping with the project is getting to learn more about Rails. As a result of this knowledge gained, I recently completed my first paid Rails freelance project. That was a great feeling!

So, the news this weekend is that there is a new version of Tracks out, 1.04. I’m confident that the release will be exciting for some people. It’s interesting to note that from my perspective, a release is kind of a non-event. I’ve been working with the latest code base all along, so tagging some code as a release doesn’t really change too much.

Simon Phipps looks at this the phenomenon of the different perspectives held by the contributors to an open source project and the users of the project:

I think “open source” is like this too. The “glass” divides software deployers and software developers. One side of the glass it’s all about participating in a community of code, innovating, contributing and other developer issues. The other side of the glass it’s all about value-for-money, freedom of choice of supplier, low exit costs and other business issues.

I certainly use a whole lot more open source software than I contribute to, so I can look from both sides of the glass. I do think that having the experience of contributing to a project changes the way you behave as a user of other projects — you’re more appreciative and more helpful. Kind of like a restaurant patron who has had the experience of working as a waiter/waitress tends to be a kinder, gentler, better-tipping diner.

As I think about it, I guess the release does matter to me — it means more people will be interacting with my code every day. And that’s awesome!

One Response to “Tracks 1.04 released, and open source perspectives”

  1. anthony chimed in:

    Dude, I totally broke mine on Pair trying to upgrade. Shiznit. (I hadn’t actually been using it, but I’m interested in checking out the new version).

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