I came across this excellent blog post – “Recognizing and Avoiding Common Open Source Community Pitfalls“. It’s very related to the short speech I gave recently over at 3rd Ubuntu / Fedora release party. My angle was on how much good participating in an Open Source project could do to a college student. I was talking more about how much practical stuff one could learn from existing projects – their tools, approaches, etc.
The blog post talks about roughly the same, but from a different perspective. It’s more for those who are starting a new project, rather then joining the existing one. There are plenty of ‘myths’ that go around about how is it is to do Open Source and how everyone can do it, and that all you need to succeed is to start. That’s not so true, of course. There is plenty of stuff to be learned and lots of work to be done. If you are about to start your project or started one recently or just thinking about it, read the article. It’s has roughly a paragraph about each of the following:
- Built it and they will come.
- Your community will help you build HARD DIFFICULT FEATURE X.
- Directional fallacies.
- Contributions are free.
- Profit models.
- Folks can understand your code.
- Documentation updates.
- Everyone using App X will give back freely and without your asking.
- Contributors are like coworkers.
- Resources grow on trees.
- Cross distribution support is easy.
- Users help users and it’s ok to just be a developer.
- Cross-project collaboration is easy.