Open Source Project Management 101

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Facilitated by Ryan Ozimek, PICnet

Ryan will explain best practices and processes for managing an open source development project to success, and describe how to start your own!

Session Notes

Session notes will be entered here.


What are the goals?

- learn to manage open source projects and produce awesome results

- learn best practices from each other's projects

- hear aobut various structures/governance

- what are good leadership characteristics

- learn how to start your own open source project

- hear about how open source projects actually get done, and not just the myths

- learn about how different platforms can make a difference in a project

- learn about the legal issues of open source projects

- learn how to herd cats and keep momentum going around an open source project

- learn how to split your time managing and coding


How did Drupal get to the structure that it is today?

- google was giving money, but there was no organization that could accept it, so the Drupal Association

- general assembly of 30 people, and some board members

- the Drupal Association pays for conferences and infrastructure, but won't pay for coding

- the community takes care of the code

- handle things to do with maintaing liscences and such

- no staff, just contracts our lawyers and event planners and such

- development is freeform, though some things like sprints are organized


How did Plone get to the structure that it is today?

- has a 501(3)(c) organization to maintain it, the Plone Foundation

- it is the copyright and trademark

- the foundation has membership by merit, where people apply and give their credentials for the platform

- 6 board members elected by the membership

- Get sponsorships that help pay for marketing and representation at conferences

- the mission is to "protect and promote"

- makes sure contributors sign an agreement saying they are handing over the copyright on their code


How did Joomla get to the structure that it is today?

- came from Mambo (?) entire dev team left when suits wanted to control the projects

- started Open Source Matters to help protect them

- the entity started just as the legal stuff and the money

- thinking a lot about paying core architects from donations

- trying to figure out who to pay what


Reasons for legal structures?

1) accept $

2) Legal defense

3) Organize community

4) Copyright holder

5) Sponsorships

6) Marketing

7) Development of code? Maybe.

8) Events mamagement

9) Contributor agreements


Question: Are all the developers just volunteering, or are they getting paid to help?

- a mix of both, some employers give back code their employees do as marketing

- there is additional status to being a core contributor and you can get hired/paid more


Question: how did Joomla get into paid add-ons, and Drupal ended up with open source modules?

- Drupal is based on GPL and that influences it a lot

- Joomla started with coprporate exceptions, and it continued

- Joomla is working on forcing their contributors to accept a GPL if listed on Joomla.org but still letting them charged


Question: What happens when you try paying people?

- paying people changes the dynamic

- hard to decide who gets paid and whom doesn't

- it is hard to create a mixed ecomony

- example: Debian deciding to pay the release manager was a disaster because people opposed it

- tokens often work best, awarding volunteers for doing such like closing the most tickets

- Ubuntu provides bounties for solving bugs

- The developer Ronja does a reverse bounty, says he will create a new feature if he gets enough donations

- Plone sometimes uses an escrow system


Question: if you are settting up a new project what structure to use for a partnership between organizations?

- worry about making good programs before worrying about structures


Note: Trademarks require defending in order to control them


Question: what is happening with the sociological aspects of Open Source?

- there used to be a lot of questions about what it is and what an Open Source foundation would do, those have mostly been answered

- now it is mostly a discussion about copyright and trademark and such

- "Open Source has lost its innocence"


Note: Talk to the Software Freedom Law Center if you are a new project