On Turbo Dropping TypeScript

Recently, David Heinemeier Hansson (also known as DHH) announced that Turbo 8 is dropping its use of TypeScript. This announcement sparked substantial reactions against the decision. However, rather than focusing on the technical aspects, I want to discuss this differently.

Let’s get straight to my point: If someone wants Turbo to be built with TypeScript, they can create their own fork (potentially named turbo-ts) and become its maintainer. This is not a dead-end situation. In fact, it’s a common occurrence in the Free/Open Source world. The principles of Software Freedom include the liberty to modify software and to distribute the modified version to the public.

Consider, for instance, how LibreOffice was born from OpenOffice (backed by Oracle), NextCloud emerged from OwnCloud (by its core developers), and WinterCMS was created from OctoberCMS after it transitioned into proprietary software.

Ultimately, Turbo is a project of DHH and his team. They developed it to streamline their own development processes. They have full authority to make decisions regarding the Turbo project.

It’s crucial to remember that Free/Open Source development differs significantly from proprietary software development. Consider the recent decision made by Unity (the game engine). Unity users are often forced to accept whatever the company imposes on them, especially after they become deeply entrenched in its ecosystem. This scenario would never occur if Unity were a Free/Open Source game engine. As long as there is a community and a need, such software can continue to be developed. The Free/Open Source world is not a place where we are merely users or operators, where we can only hope for the mercy of a company to do us a favor by doing what we like. Here, we can take the initiative and build what is missing. Imagine the possibilities if we take action as a community.

Also, it’s worth noting that some of the uproar around the TypeScript-less Turbo 8 comes from those who have never contributed to the project or used it once. Let’s show more respect to those who do contribute. The Free/Open Source world is a do-ocratic world. Actions matter more than words.