What comes first, code or community?

A perpetual topic of discussion in FOSS Communities.

Why Code?

Code is the real output of FOSS - When there is free software available, we can all contribute, evangelize, help people use it. That is why I strongly feel it is the primary aspect of running a community.

Building good software that people actually want, and find it accessible to use is the hardest thing engineers can do. Once we have that, the community then forms around it to improve it and take it to the world.

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That’s one way.

Then there’s the other way where community comes first. That’s because communities can be built around anything - an idea, an ideology, a codebase, an individual, an organization, a programming language, whatever.

Sometimes people can come together with an idea first, gain from each other, and then write good code.

Sometimes there might be some average code + a brilliant idea. The community can crystallize around that and make the code brilliant too.

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Yes, but ultimately if there is no code, the community will just be all talk, no action - essentially become a purely political community.