Be Honest with Your OSS

September 15, 2017

When you launch an OSS project, it’s understandable to be proud of what you’ve built, and if you think it’s perfect, then market it as such.

But if you notice something in it is particularly broken, weird, unintuitive, then please say so at the very top of your README. If you know the project is dated and aren’t likely to update it, or know there are better tools out there, then be a good person and direct people to the good stuff. For instance, on my Typographic project, I explicitly tell people to use Typography.js instead.

Otherwise people have to spend hours, days, even weeks, building a project (sometimes with a deadline) around your software, before they find out you weren’t being entirely honest.

Ask yourself, why would anyone contribute to your project if your project just cost them their job? Or time with their family? Or sleep?

This isn’t some entitled rant. This is you marketing your project as complete when you know it isn’t. This affects everyone of us, including you when you invariably fall into the same trap.

Just do the right thing. Be honest. Put a ## Caveats section at the top of your README where you’re completely honest about the state of the project.

Be part of the solution. Maybe it’ll catch on and we can all save precious time to actually experience life.