Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Producing Open Source Software

If you've ever wondered exactly what makes an Open Source project successful, and I mean really successful, as in building a sustainable community, not just having one guy madly hacking away in his spare time and giving the results away to the world, then you should absolutely take a look at Karl Fogel's new book, Producing Open Source Software. Karl's one of the reasons that the Subversion community has taken off the way it has, and while reading over the online version of the book this weekend I was continually struck by how on-target his observations were. I mean I was actually there for many of the situations he writes about, and I still didn't see all the angles that he covers.

Seriously, go read the book, and buy a dead-tree version when it hits the stores, you won't regret it.

I was particularly interested in chapter 5, Money.

Why? Well, it's all about how to keep things from getting all weird when people start getting paid to work on the project, either as full time sponsored developers who work for a company with a vested interest, or as contractors paid to fix a specific problem one of their clients needs fixed, or whatever. You see, I'm going to have to deal with that issue personally real soon now. I just accepted a job offer from CollabNet working on their Subversion team, so for the first time my day job will actually be working on some of the stuff I do in my spare time. As you might expect, I'm looking forward to this particular application of the stuff Karl writes about in chapter 5.

This is where I insert the "I'm going to miss the people at Bloglines" and "I'm really looking forward to this new opportunity" sections, but everything I write sounds totally lame. So just assume that I wrote something to that effect, cause I really will miss working on Bloglines, and at the same time I'm really psyched about getting paid to hack on Subversion.