I feel a little bad for just posting these notes. But I think they can be useful for others. These are notes learned about running an open source project from the Django project This talk was by Jacob Kaplan Moss.

Arguments for open sourcing

  • Money- consulting, sell proprietary add ons
  • Hundreds of people will contribute (if compelling product)
  • Self improvement model - Very clean because of peer pressure/review Django is light years ahead, if it had stayed closed source
  • Geek cred - Will be able to higher better, talk at conferences, be more recognized
  • Moral argument - We've built a business on top of open source. It's time to give something back. But where do you draw the line?

How did this work when approaching management? Surprisingly the moral argument held the most compelling to the managers.

Selling open source to other companies

Unfortunately FUD from MS has many people predisposed against open source. People refused to run Linux because it was "anti-capitalist" (literally).

Most effective counter argument to communist threat of open source was to talk about freedom. Freedom from lockin. Your data belongs to you.

Lessons for maintainers

We aren't perfect or great, probably just a little better than average.

  • Build a community, not just a mailing list. Be very conscious of tone. Followup with constructivly with criticisms on blogs (ie "Thanks for you criticism, how can we do this better?"). [matt] probably comes from journalism background
  • Be careful of trolls, and just ignore them. Possibly ban them.
  • Spam can't be an afterthought. Don't think oh, we won't get spammed. Google groups does a good job.
  • Listen to the community. Everyone has good and bad ideas. Don't pay too much attention to vocal minority. But be willing to take big risks when the community asks for them.
  • Have to be willing to ask for help and delegating things.