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January 29, 2006

Comments

Paul Beer

You are wrong to say passion cannot be bottled: it is called beer.

Nicholas Goodman

Tried to do comments on your site, but the formatting wouldn't stick...

I've linked along to you:
http://www.bayontechnologies.com/bt/blog/archives/2006/01/great_post_on_c.php

JosephDP

I disagree with your definition of the community for an open source project as being only developers. In general, the number of developers who actually contribute new code to a project is, perhaps, 5 to 10 individuals. The community also comprises those who are willing to test the product, and contribute bug fixes. The largest part of the community are the users, some of whom might move into the role of testers or bug fixers, many of whom report bugs or contribute use cases, but never look at the CVS or subversion, and never submit a line of code.

Related to this discussion, in addition to Nick's comments, are a post by Matt Asay and my response.

Mudblood Open Source
http://asay.blogspot.com/2006/01/mudblood-open-source.html

and

Open Source Communities Mudblood or Pureblood

http://press.teleinteractive.net/oss/2006/01/31/open_source_communities_mudblood_or_pure

Also, I would say that the difference between MSDN or similar community for closed-source products and an open source community is two-fold.

1. The community surrounding a closed-source product more closely resembles your definition of community - it is to support inventors, but only invention ON TOP OF the core product(s). The closed-source product company doesn't take advantage of the "long tail" affect as applied to development, to improve the core product(s). This is one strength of open source vs. closed source.

2. There is no end-user interaction within a closed-source developer community. In an open source project community, the end-user makes up the largest segment, and often provides the strongest feedback. This is the second strength lent to an open source project by its community, and why successful open source projects are capturing market share.

Other than that disagreement, I agree with Nick - great post.

russ danner

Thanks I appreciate all the comments! Nick I have a number of things I want to respond to on your post but it's going to have to wait.

To respond to Joseph,
I think we are missing each other a little bit. I never intended to imply that inventors where developers only. In fact I mean exactly the opposite. I have a very good friend, Arthur who is a Program Manager. He may be the #1 guy I wish would enter in to open source. He is far from a coder (to my knowledge.) But he is an inventors inventor!

You said:
1. The community surrounding a closed-source product more closely resembles your definition of community - it is to support inventors, but only invention ON TOP OF the core product's). The closed-source product company doesn't take advantage of the "long tail" affect as applied to development, to improve the core products). This is one strength of open source vs. closed source.

I agree that closed-source companies are missing out. That is my central point. Don't encourage your community to develop on top of your engineering. Make the community your major driver. I even went as far as to say if all of your committers and thinkers are employees, I think you have it wrong.

You said:
2. There is no end-user interaction within a closed-source developer community. In an open source project community, the end-user makes up the largest segment, and often provides the strongest feedback. This is the second strength lent to an open source project by its community, and why successful open source projects are capturing market share.

Yes! exactly, and this is what we want from COSC! This is central to alfresco, sugar crm, jboss, etc. You have to foster the community, nurture it until it is as much in the drivers seat as you are. IBM understands this well. However, the seem to maintain a balance of influence in terms of vision for the product. This is because they intend to sell service not product.

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