Reflections on Open Source Development

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  • RealMarkP, Eric, Andrew
    • What is Open Source:
      • Open source is like closed source except where everyone in the world is able to critique, modify, and test your code freely. In addition, there are alot more people who will complain about the quality of your code. Everyone has the ability to contribute to an open source project in many other ways than just code.

What is Open Source Development

A cryptic outline of the discussion:

  • about relationships
  • community in terms of social communication (eg. irc)
  • opportunity for people and software for growth (though this isn't just for OS)
  • successes are shared - one helps another, it helps overall
  • viral?
  • monopoly in knowledge/code?
  • longevity in code. if the original coder stops, someone else can continue.
  • relationships in communication
  • danger if ppl don't continue and knowledge disappears.
  • inherited their code, bound by license - open because of procedure sake, but in reality, not open for contributions.
  • all about licensing perhaps?
  • relaxed way for entry/contribution.
  • knowledge in community. you may be the smartest person and do not want to share code, someone in the overall community may be able to carry on in the same way or not.
  • AND and not OR. You need will (from people) AND the environment to succeed.
  • the need for passion and energy to do it
  • learning process - puts yourself into situations that we never expected, or know where to start
  • personal development and technology development grows together
  • chaotic - like bazaar. there's no one standard way of doing it.
  • resource level? where's the balance of when a question should be asked or should be researched?
  • the community is not there. lots of subcultures, segregations. A does it, B needs something, so they fork it and maintain that they are different/better?
  • pressured to adapt to a community way of doing things - e.g code format
  • may be about community, but also individual way of doing things.

What did you wish you knew back then

  • not everyone is willing to help
  • can't expect a response. don't wait, move on.
  • efficiency of emails is a myth, and usually ineffective
  • irc is intimidating
  • be specific in your questions. people will ignore if you are too vague, or do not show that you've at least done some effort to fix the issue.
  • you need to take initiative when you take on a project. we're too used to specs.
    • hard to get started - don't know what the other party want, don't know what we want, don't know the technology, there's no roadmap
    • suggested solution: make a small scope and then expand (from the core)
  • documentation is hard and takes time
  • learn screen (the window manager, that is)
  • don't study for other courses during guest lectures
  • explain everything in the wiki page - EVERY BIT, journal about everything you do.