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How to Run an Open Source Project


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Published in: Economy & Finance, Technology
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How to Run an Open Source Project

  1. 1. How to Run an Open Source Project by Sebastiaan Deckers
  2. 2. Who am I? <ul><li>Founder of Pandion instant messenger </li></ul><ul><ul><li>XMPP client for Windows </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open source, soon GPL v3 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2-4 million users </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Working at Directi on </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on Pandion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open source, GPL v3 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Launching soon! </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Goals of this Talk <ul><li>Starting a project </li></ul><ul><li>Useful tools </li></ul><ul><li>Mistakes to avoid </li></ul><ul><li>Division of labour </li></ul><ul><li>Gaining and handling users </li></ul><ul><li>??? </li></ul><ul><li>Profit! </li></ul>
  4. 4. Getting Started <ul><li>Choose a name </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember Phoenix, Firebird, Firefox? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Choose something that is available, easy to remember, pronounceable over the phone, … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acronyms are good, recursion better </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>eg: GNU = Gnu’s Not Unix </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Choose a logo </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Humans remember visually </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Code and Content License <ul><li>Source Code </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Copyleft: GPL, LGPL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Copyright: BSD, MIT/X11, Apache </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Logos, documentation, artwork, presentations, media, mailing lists, blog posts, … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creative Commons Licenses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>GNU Free Documentation License </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contributions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Transfer IP or scattered ownership </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Project Hosting <ul><li>Do-It-Yourself (DIY) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pro: Product demo, commercial projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Con: Productivity drain, attack/spam vector </li></ul></ul><ul><li>All-In-One </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pro: No hassle, integrated suite </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Con: No flexibility, poor usability </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Loosely Coupled Mashup </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pro: No hassle, specialised </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Con: Content islands </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Releases and PR <ul><li>Synchronised Releases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Major releases follow fixed cycle with others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minor releases when needed by users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nightly builds for developers and testers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>PR 2.0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wikipedia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ohloh </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community! </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Team Management Melting pot of experience and development styles Distributed location & time zone Co-developers fix bugs and improve architecture Code quality Specialist contributors, resilient manpower Easy come, easy go High motivation and passion Ad-hoc productivity Actual Strength Perceived Weakness
  9. 9. Team Management <ul><li>Lessons learned </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Document everything, publically log decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lower barriers to join the project or it gets forked </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decentralised decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Core leadership team </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Listen to your users </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Follow up, track progress, deadlines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Have a project manager who cracks the whip </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you build it, they will come </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t wait for people to join. Just go for it. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. User Community <ul><li>Problem: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The better the product, the more users. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The more users, the less time spent improving the product. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solutions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Self Service: documentation, wiki, discussion groups, chat rooms, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Empowerment: Expert users assist novice users. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Filter and rank feedback so developers can concentrate on what matters. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Is there Money in Free Software? <ul><li>Ways to monetise projects as a developer: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sell related service or product </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advertising </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get better job offers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consulting & paid support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Beg for donations </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Project Foundations <ul><li>Single entity owns the project </li></ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fixed representation of ever changing team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Survival assurance to users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accountability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal protection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hiring employees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Receiving income </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. EOF Questions? Contact Me [email_address] Shameless Plugs Thank you for your time!