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Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm
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Os Fitzpatrick Sussman Wiifm

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  • 1. What!s In It For Me? How Your Company Can Benefit from Open Sourcing Code Ben Collins-Sussman & Brian W. Fitzpatrick Google OSCON: July 27, 2007
  • 2. Overview These are our opinions • • Target audience: corporations and folks in them • Different strategies for open sourcing code • Pros and cons of each • Prescribe best practices
  • 3. Why Go Open Source? Some sort of net gain • • Create better software • Create a real relationship with your users • Choose your goals – PR? – Goodwill from techies? – Free labor? – Change the industry, take over world?
  • 4. Measuring “Health” of Open Source Lots of usage (not users!) • • A number of active developers • Constant improvements and releases • Remember: no community == dead software
  • 5. Open Source Strategies
  • 6. 0. “Fake Open Source” Approach “Open Source” your code, but don!t use an OSI- • approved license • Pros: – PR splash – Effortless • Cons: – You!re not open source – You!re missing the benefits – Open Source zealots may burn your house down
  • 7. 1. “Throw Code Over Wall” Approach Post tarball of the code, then walk away. • • Pros: – PR splash (maybe) – Effortless • Cons: – No community to keep software alive (bit-rot) – Real techies give little cred
  • 8. 2. Develop Internally, Post Externally In-house development, public repository • • Pros: – PR splash – Occasional volunteers can send patches – A bit of cred from real techies • Cons: – Community & momentum is wholly internal – External community likely to form elsewhere – Attracts only “follower” developers. (No bus keys!) – General distrust: only care about corporate agenda
  • 9. 3. Open Monarchy Public discussion, public repository • • Committers are mostly employees, occasionally a volunteer is given the keys • One entity (corporation, lead developer) “rules” project and makes all decisions
  • 10. 3. Open Monarchy Pros: • – PR splash – Even more cred from techies – Better quality volunteers; they can participate in discussions, sometimes commit directly – Results in better software • Cons: – Community not long-term sustainable – High risk of angry revolutions and forking – General distrust: only care about corporate agenda
  • 11. 4. Consensus-Based Development Almost everything is public • • Decisions are based on consensus of the committers • Commit privilege must be earned by everyone
  • 12. 4. Consensus-Based Development Pros: • – Continuously increasing PR benefits – Long-term, sustainable communities – Complete techie cred – High quality volunteers (full bus keys) – Trust from other companies and participants – Results in even better software • Cons: – Little short-term benefit – In the short-term, project agenda must come first – Hard Work – You need to hire strong leaders
  • 13. Why We Think This Is Best Traditionally companies isolate developers from • users – “They can be more productive” • Results in better software • If done right, internal developers will see the benefits
  • 14. BUT BUT... I Don!t Want To Lose Control! • “Strangers will force me to do things!” • “Nasty people will hijack the project!”
  • 15. Answer: Craft your Community Choose a well-scoped mission • • Have your devs establish a strong, respectful culture • Set the discussion tone carefully • Have a well-defined process for making decisions • Watch our quot;poisonous people! talk ;-) Remember, you can set the stage, but it takes effort •
  • 16. What about Forking? Extremely rare in consensus-based development • • Majority always moves in one direction • Really hard for a hive to swarm without at least 50% of the bees
  • 17. How To Build a Consensus-Based Open Source Project
  • 18. 1. Come up with a Goal. Something useful • • Something people can be excited about • Might only benefit your company indirectly, or in the long-term Examples: Collabnet, Google. •
  • 19. 2. Write a Mission Statement Be very careful about scoping • – too broad: attracts the wrong contributors – too narrow: attracts no interest at all • Non-goals are important Examples: Subversion, GWT •
  • 20. 3. Prepare your Team Read Karl!s book! • Discuss it • Learn how to set community tone • Decide on process for admitting new committers • Learn how to diffuse poisonous people • Thicken everyone!s skin
  • 21. 4. Move all Development to Public Launch public mailing lists, repository, bug tracker • • Minimize use of internal mailing lists! – Develop policy for working with internal devs • Do some PR to attract volunteers • Start with one mailing list if possible, split later
  • 22. Summary Choose strategy based on your goals • • There are tradeoffs • We think consensus-based creates the best software
  • 23. Q&A Ben Collins-Sussman & Brian W. Fitzpatrick sussman@google.com fitz@google.com

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