Two Years of Pterodactyl

in reflection, aniversary, community, panel

Just over two years ago on December 6th 2015 the first commit of Pterodactyl was pushed live to GitHub. In the two years since there have been 38 releases, commits from 33 contributors, donations from over 50 community members, and over 800 issues and pull requests opened in the Panel repository alone. Version 0.6.4 of the Panel has been downloaded over 7,700 times since it was released.

These last two years have been a whirlwind of highs and lows. Pterodactyl has had its fair share of hiccups, but we've also made significant strides in the market and with name recognition. Over 1,250 members have passed through our Discord server and been active in the last 30 days and that number keeps on growing.

The Highs

Pterodactyl has opened many doors for myself since I went public with it, and I would not be in the position I am today without the success of this community. I went to college unsure of what I wanted to do once I graduated, persuing a degree in a field that was defineately not a standard computer science or engineering field. However, upon graduating I had already lined up a software engineering position and have had offers roll in from other large software development companies.

More importantly, Pterodactyl has allowed me to push to bounds of my programming knowledge and provided me with endless excuses to learn new languages and play with new features. In early 2017 the Project Team made the decision to move forward with rewriting our existing daemon in Go. This project has been moving forward — slowly — and allowed us the opportunity to expand our programming skills. I can also confidently say that I know more about Docker than I ever planned on knowing as a result of this software.

Two years ago Pterodactyl was but a speck in my eyes — a dream that I did not ever expect to take off as it did.

The Lows

As much as I love what I've created, I've also learned that software development — especially in the open-source world — is not all fine and dandy 100% of the time.

When I started this project it was as a refuge from a previous panel that I had created. Due to disagreements with others who controlled significant assets for that panel, I made the difficult decision to move on without them and abandon the years of work I had put into it. This split was not pretty — in retrospect poor decisions were made and I fault myself for this. The backlash from the community was intense and for many months I wondered if what I was doing was even worth it. Two years after that split, however, it remains clear that I made a decision that benefitted not only myself but the community at large — even in the face of personal attacks from others.


Building open-source software has also taught me that not everyone will be thankful for your time. There have been a significant number of personal attacks from individuals — and buisnesses — demanding personal support and 24/7 answers for free software. The picture above is an actual email that I received after removing an abusive member from our Discord. I was also unaware of the amount of entitlement and emotional manipulation that was possible in this world of free. Rather than write about that, I defer to an excellent piece written by Matt Holt, developer of the Caddy Webserver on 'The Realities of Being a FOSS Maintainer'.

In Closing

The incredible growth of this community, and the support and encouragement from those close to the success of this project have made all of that worth it. I can confidently say that this project would not be what it is today without the support and logistics provided by Parker and Jakob, two people who quickly joined the ranks of the Project Team early in Pterodactyl's infancy. I am also indebted to the entirety of the Support Team and our Partners who provide support day-in and day-out and allow me to continue building software I love without being flooded by help requests.

Heres to the last two years and the many yet to come. 🍻