Javascript experiences upon Ruby values

I’ve been thinking a lot about how capitalist interests percolate into Open Source world. Pretty much any modern Javascript framework these days is financially bakedNextJS and RemixJS. Some even sought funding before they were public, like RemixJS. The upside is that you can do great marketing with the money and grow the project and its community quickly because you can afford to have people working full-time on the project. However, that approach has a caveat; you might build a project upon an extrinsic motivator: money. What happens if money is gone? Will people stick around because they believe in the project? Or did they believe because they were paid to connect with a vision?

It’s hard to know because the community’s motivations are hard to measure. However, I’d dare to say that if a project is born out of an investment, there’ll be a strong dependency on money regardless of the project being Open Source. Unless the project is lucky to find an investor that’s a philanthropist, the main project goal becomes meeting their return expectations.

Interestingly, this approach to Open Source happens a lot in ecosystems like Javascript, which shares a lot with capitalism. It’s a programming language that creates problems that can be solved with more Javascript and are a tool for moving fast and breaking things where great software design principles don’t find their space. If companies dove into the weeds of the popular Javascript frameworks, they’d think twice before building upon that foundation. Those frameworks gear the investments towards marketing, and with great marketing, you can go a long distance in convincing people.

Ruby, another programming language I’m familiar with, and its popular Rails framework are the antithesis. Perhaps, there’s a strong connection with the Japanese culture, a rich and old culture where capitalism has difficulty pushing craftsmanship aside. Their goal doesn’t take the shape of capitalist interests wrapped in a mission statement that usually includes “better”. They aim to create a foundation for software craftswomen and craftsmen that sparks joy when using it. When they optimize for sparking joy, they place humans at the center of what they do. I wonder if there’s a connection between this and Shopify’s approach to e-commerce, where the merchant is always first.

My principles align more with Ruby, Rails, Shopify, and the Japanese culture. Once I earn the amount of money I need to live, I love empowering other software crafters through Open Source tools. I build only expecting experiences that help me and others grow as human beings, which is what Gestalt is all about. In an ecosystem where financial interests hoard the Open Source space, there’s a real need for a new long-term foundation with intrinsic motivations and humans front and center.