Designing an open-source project for low maintenance

To improve the Internet's signal / noise ratio, the Let's Block It project allows you to hide low-quality content and useless nags with the uBlock Origin content blocker. It is both a community-maintained filter templates collection and a web application where you can build your personal list and sync it across your devices. Since its launch in January 2022, it has undergone a slow but steady growth and its official instance currently serves hundreds of custom lists every week.

After reading one too many stories of maintainers burning out, my main concern for this project was to make it sustainable for several years. As a non-commercial project targeting a niche audience, I had to intentionally design it for low maintenance, in order for it to be viable as a weekend project. In this talk, we'll go through this process, from the ideation phase to technology and community management choices.

Ruthlessly reducing the project's scope, learning to say no, choosing the right partners and boring technologies seem like obvious advice in retrospect, but these lessons will be useful to anyone starting a new non-commercial project.

Xavier Vello

Distributed systems engineer, Maintainer of,

Paris, France


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