During the Summer of ‘13 my friend Nithin and I founded a news media startup, Wintria. We built the product, incorporated the company, and then launched. For many reasons, the product never took off. It felt very demoralizing.
Fall quarter of Junior year had started and I was completely consumed with school and interviews. Being in a startup during school made no sense and I ended up quitting.
Our product was a news search engine that recieved its news from a seperate module which I built early in 2013. This service was conveniently dubbed Newspaper.
After the quarter ended, I wanted to open source Newspaper for my personal book-keeping so I refactored the code, wrote up the documentation, and then published Newspaper open source on Github.
I didn’t think or expect much of it at the beginning. The only benefit of publishing the code, as I thought, was that a few extra eyeballs would be on the lookout for errors and maybe a pull request would occur once in a while.
But what happened was much more awesome.
Quickly after publishing the code, many people had begun to download it from pypi, the python package index. On Github, my repository quickly rose to the #1 trending python spot!
All of it was so instant. At this point I was shaking in excitement at the idea of open source. The idea that so many people around the world can download and use code that you have written is both horrifying and incredible.
It is incredible because of the sheer potential for positive impact. If you write a piece of widely used software that greatly out performs its predecessors, imagine the value gained in society e.g. Apache Web Server.
Simmilarly, It is horrifying because unchecked bugs or sloppy documentation can result in catastrophic amounts of frustration. Seeing Github pull-requests and bug reports filed to Newspaper hurts because I can empathize with the devs on the other end.
I don’t know what I’m going to be doing after graduation, but I hope to always be writing some form of open source software on the side.