[Updated 17-Jul-2013, 12:47 PT: Added a couple of additional links from opensource.com.]
It seems to be time to pull together the past year's posts and ideas here. I've not been writing as much on the Network World blog, focusing instead on the Outercurve Foundation blog. I've been working to develop a theme on making open source software projects successful. To that end I started around a collection of writing on the basics of understanding the motivations and some of the mechanics:
- Making Open Source Software starts the theme by looking at the motivations around open source software, whether one is a user, a buyer, or a maker of FOSS, and if you're going to "make", why the economics works and what you need to consider.
- Making Commercial Open Source Software picks up the theme of the maker but from a commercial perspective. If a company is to contribute or make FOSS, then one needs to have a clear understanding of the return on investment and how to consider certain additional tools at one's disposal for making open source. [This post takes the theme from the idea of developing FOSS as a strategic product/service edge, and doesn't get into the nuts and bolts of customers versus community.] This post appeared in opensource.com as well.
- Building collaboration communities comes with certain realities. One of the ideas I wanted to develop was the importance of "freeloaders" because if contribution is the lifeblood of a project, one needs a lot of users to find people interested in contributing. I cover these ideas off in "The Math of FOSS Freeloaders: Why Freeloaders are Essential to FOSS Project Success" [opensource.com link]
- Finally I wanted people to understand the role of software construction practices in scaling FOSS projects beyond a handful of users. If you don't build onramps for potential contributors, you'll never see the contribution potential of your project. These ideas were tackled in "Git[/SVN/Mercurial] and Growing a FOSS Community". [This post also appeared recently on opensource.com.]
I also posted this past year from several perspectives on licensing and FOSS. Software is protected by copyright law in the United States and other countries. There has been an enormous rise in the power and popularity of github.com this past few years, but many feel they don't need to worry about licensing their software if they want to share it, living in a "Publication = Sharing" world. Trying to sort out licensing can be daunting at times. Depending upon my frustration levels, I've covered the topic from a number of perspectives this past year:
- "Open Source, Software Hygiene and STDs" starts the discussion about the problems of not licensing one's software. [Also appearing in opensource.com.]
- "Which Open Source Software License Should I Use?" tackles the question head on explaining the broad levers available in FOSS licensing. There was a crossover post on Network World discussing licensing versus business models for the commercially minded FOSS advocate. [Also appearing in opensource.com.]
- Finally I broke down to the very short "Everything You NEED to Know About Software Copyright and Licensing-to-Share in 2 Minutes". [opensource.com link]
- The most comprehensive discussion is in the International FOSS Law Review in a refereed article Paula and I co-authored "The Rise and Evolution of the Open Source Software Foundation".
- I tackle the fundamental differences between FOSS Foundations and forges in "Forges and foundations: Chalk and cheese". [This post began on the opensourcedelivers.com website.]
- I've presented the FOSS Foundation ideas several times this past year, and slides can be found on slideshare.net.
All in all, it's been a good year of writing on the development of free and open source software.