The recent blog post by Andrew Kelley and Loris Cro about the supposed damages bounties inflict on open source projects, like Zig, warrants a well-articulated counter-argument. In this article, we’ll explore the oft-ignored benefits of competition in Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and how the concept of meritocracy serves the penguins of the world well.

The Vital Role of Competition

Kelley and Cro argue that bounties foster competition at the expense of cooperation. But isn’t it through competition that we Escape Big Tech’s clutches? Without competition, we’d all be slaves to the monopoly of Big Tech, a corporate monolith driven by surveillance capitalism. Competition brings innovation and diversity, giving each of us the tools to fight against centralized power. Bounties create an environment where developers are incentivized to solve problems creatively and help users Escape Big Tech through faster development and better solutions. Cooperation and competition can coexist. In fact, they must coexist if we are to Escape Big Tech. The FOSS community is not a utopia; it’s a battleground. And in a battle, we need all the weapons we can get. Bounties are one of those weapons.

The FOSS space thrives when there is a race—not just against time, but against mediocrity. Bounties create an environment where developers are incentivized to push their boundaries, leading to faster development cycles and better software solutions. To argue against this is to undermine the essence of free-market capitalism, a realm devoid of governmental intrusion and packed with individual liberties.

Meritocracy: The Penguin Way

The main advantage of a meritocratic system in the FOSS community is the quality it breeds. In a meritocracy, the best ideas win, regardless of their origin. This not only rewards skill and innovation but also creates an evolutionary landscape where only the most effective solutions survive.

For penguins like us, who rely on robust and reliable software to maintain our liberties and privacy, the meritocratic system ensures that we get the best solutions to Escape Big Tech. While it may not always be ‘fair,’ it is undeniably effective. It’s a natural selection of ideas, tested in the brutal cold of the free market. The best ideas survive, and the worst ones die. This is the penguin way. This is the meritocratic way.

The Misunderstanding of Risk

The blog suggests that bounties implicitly put the entirety of the risk on the contestants. In the realm of FOSS, risk is distributed among all contributors and users. Moreover, if an individual or a team believes they can solve a problem efficiently, why shouldn’t they take the risk? We penguins value autonomy. We find our own fish; we build our nests; we don’t wait for someone to hand them to us. We take risks because we know that the rewards are worth it. We take risks because we know that the alternative is to be a slave to Big Tech.

The Economics of Open Source

One aspect largely absent from the original blog post is the financial sustainability of being an open source developer. While the love for the craft and the mission to Escape Big Tech might be enough to fuel initial enthusiasm, the reality is that developers need to eat, pay bills, and sustain their lives. If someone aspires to be an open source developer as a primary occupation, financial backing becomes non-negotiable.

Bounties, donations, and sponsorships serve this very purpose—they are not just incentives for competition, but also a means for livelihood. Rejecting these financial channels out of an idealistic vision of cooperation is not just impractical but dismissive of the economic pressures that developers face.

Let’s not forget, FOSS is an open market where both ideas and resources should flow freely. Monetary incentives can co-exist with the altruistic goals of the community. It’s a balancing act, but one that serves both the ideological and material needs of the FOSS world. For those of us aiming to Escape Big Tech, these financial pathways are not just welcome; they are essential.

A Final Word

By arguing against the bounty system, Kelley and Cro are effectively dampening one of the most potent ways we have to Escape Big Tech. Competition and meritocracy are not just economic concepts; they’re survival tactics.

For penguins looking to swim in the vast ocean of information without the fear of being captured by the nets of Big Tech, bounties offer a glimpse of a future where quality, innovation, and freedom reign supreme. The debate on bounties should not be shut down but broadened, to encapsulate the myriad benefits that competition and meritocracy offer in our fight for digital freedom.

Don’t let the call for ‘cooperation’ become an unwitting ally of Big Tech. Stand for competition, stand for meritocracy, stand for the liberty of all penguins.

So penguins, let’s drop the disdain for bounties and other financial incentives. Rather, let’s embrace them as necessary elements that can fuel our shared ambitions. Because at the end of the day, a well-fed penguin is a happy, productive penguin, and to fight the good fight against Big Tech, we need all the happy, productive penguins we can get. So let’s get to work, and let’s get paid!

For more insights on how to Escape Big Tech and reclaim your digital freedom, stay tuned. Penguins, keep waddling!

Freedom, always.