Thursday, May 5, 2011

On community management

There's an article "Community management for coders" at the SD Times that's very relevant to FreeDOS, and free/open source software development in general. It has some great advice for anyone who's interested in working in a F/OSS community.

In the article, James Bottomley, distinguished engineer at Novell and maintainer of the Linux SCSI subsystems, has three pieces of advice for smoothing over the inevitable social friction that can occur within an open-source project:

  • Keep it technical.
  • Don't just say "no"; say "no" with a reason.
  • Organize a face-to-face gathering at least once a year, if possible.

Joe Brockmeier (also from Novell) has an insightful quote about the "coordinator" role: "Community management really isn't about 'running' a community, it's about working with and facilitating a community."

And Greg Kroah-Hartman (Linux driver project) has this advice: "The best thing I've learned over the years is humility. There is always someone out there that is better than you and can point out problems in your code. And that's good, because in the end what matters most is the code getting better, and by virtue of that, Linux getting better."

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