Succeeding at Open Source Development

At GoGaRuco (Golden Gate RubyConf) today…

Here’s what I got out of the Open Source Development talk:

If you want to build up your open source project and manage it properly, you have to be open to newer contributors who are enthusiastic, even if they build a feature you think is useless. Communication is important.

Avoid complicated workflow/processes. Premature process is the root of all frustration. Use as little process as you can. Add a process as you need to.

Have contributors achieve the easiest wins first. Simple goals and easy tasks are important. Tell them to “run this command and fix what is broken.” Get them in the door by giving them simple tasks first. Tell contributors to get the spec working first, for example.

“Have no core team” since giving trust to your contributors is important.


Be open, give trust, communicate well and don’t take it personally.

Open Source Development is a social contract. Contributors want to succeed. They want to help with your project but they also want respect.


Communication tools you recommend?

* irc is not great but it’s better than anything else.
* Get on the phone with a contributor.
* Video chat
* Screen share with audio
* use whatever tool to avoid latency.

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