This week I have stumbled upon a very thorough review of existing problems and hidden costs of sustaining modern (open source) digital infrastructure. Here it is: Roads and Bridges - The Unseen Labor Behind Our Digital Infrastructure by Nadia Eghbal.

The essay was created with support from the Ford Foundation and is published on their website under a Creative Commons license. Unfortunately, that website denies access to users from certain countries (like Russia), so here is a mirror of PDF version.

The author discusses important and often overlooked topics of why open source software gets built and by whom, of who pays the costs of building and maintaining that software and of how to ensure that the software we all rely upon continues to be reliable. The essay poses more questions than it answers, but I still consider it the best read on the topic of sustaining open source development.

In my case Nadia Eghbal was "preaching to the converted" so this post is me trying to spread her word. Please read her essay and please do not take open source software for granted. The costs of building it are just payed by others, may be you can figure out how to help them?