Open Source software

I’m a big fan of Open Source software, and if it wasn’t for the fact that I have bills to pay - I would likely open source all my apps.


So I actually had my first taste of programming in New Zealand way back in the early 1980’s. Mum was a very forward thinking women and spent way too much money buying an Apple II clone, from the local Tech chain Dick Smith. Dick Smith is still going strong by the way, but has evolved into more of an electronics retailer than the hobby store it used to be.

CAT - Apple II clone courtesy CAT - Apple II clone courtesy
I remember mum saying that the salesman had convinced her that Apple was the future… How very wrong… and right he actually was. I don’t remember a lot about the computer, but I do remember it was a beast, A huge keyboard, with a 5 1/4" floppy disk drive with a tiny little 14"? screen. I remember it being amazing by it even though it really could do virtually nothing apart from run some pretty cool graphic demos. We had no apps for it with the exception of a Word Processor perhaps? To be honest I forget now, it was so long ago. I do remember writing small simple programs for it though. Nothing amazing at all, just printing out my name and streaming characters across the screen.

That computer pretty much just gathered dust, as I couldn’t really see much use for it, and neither did the rest of the family. Far too ahead of its time I guess.

I spent a couple of decades of not really being interested in technology at all, with the exception of building some websites in Macromedia Dreamweaver. I dropped out of an Electronic Engineering degree (much to the annoyance of my family) and spent my youth living more of a wholistic/hippy/circus/rock climber bum type of lifestyle. In my early 30s back in the early 2000’s with the birth of my son, I decided I wanted to learn to program - because why not. 👍

Open Source training wheels

I had a white G3 iBook at the time, and this is what I used to learn programming on. I started out writing some small app in Apple script, I can’t even remember what it was or what it did now. But I was hooked. I wanted to learn more. I knew AppleScript was limited, and wanted to learn some real programming, and somehow stumbled into the open source community. I would look through repositories, and try to make sense of the code. I found it super exciting to alter lines of code and compile and see what would happen. There was a lot of trial and error, as YouTube wasn’t a thing back then.

There was no real reason to learn, and I had no idea it would eventually lead to a career. I just thought it was something interesting to learn.

Giving back

Fast forward to today, and I find myself on GitHub more often than not when bored. I prefer to use open source apps if available, and will try to submit Pull Requests for apps I find useful as a way to give back. Most recently I’ve been really enjoying the community over at the Transmission project as they ramp up for their long over due Apple Silicon native version 4. I’ve submitted a number of fixes and improvements.

If it wasn’t for Open Source, I likely wouldn’t be a software developer today. I’m super happy that it exists, and hope to see it keep on flourishing.