General Question

paulc's avatar

Ever created an open source project based on your work?

Asked by paulc (2919points) April 8th, 2008

I’m considering creating an open source project based on some work I’ve done that I think could be useful to others (its useful to me, anyway). I’d also love to see it built upon and grow. Has anyone here done this? What are the difficulties? Did anyone end up contributing useful additions? How was the process managed?

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6 Answers

felipelavinz's avatar

Well, I’ve done something like this, on a very small project (a WordPress theme)... even so… I think the hardest thing it’s to create a community around a project, but this might be a little easier if you use Sourceforge.net or Google Code, since you’ll have several tools that would allow people interact with you and your project (wikis, forums, issue tracker, subversion, etc.)

I would suggest you to really think before you choose a license, not only because of what people might end doing with your code, but also because what you might do with other people’s code (for instance, you can include LGPL code on projects that are not LGPL, but I think you can’t use GPL code if your project isn’t GPL’ed)

Good luck!

paulc's avatar

@felipelavinz, I’ll likely release under an MIT or BSD license as they seem to allow the most unrestricted usage and are generally less complicated looking. I’m mostly concerned with how much oversight is needed in terms of handling patches made by contributors and other sorts of clerical stuff.

Vincentt's avatar

You’re not going to be able to build a community around stuff you just dumped.

Personally, I have a library of code I just put online and which I plastered a BSD license on. People can use it if they feel the need, and I’ll be using it in a “real” project (which I invest a lot of time in so I can build a community around it) so it’ll get some exposure.

One site I’ve found very useful (considering I’m using Git) is Gitorious.org. I’ve dumped my code on there and people can just check it out, and if they want to edit it they can opt to create a branch on that site, develop on it and if they want it included, select “Merge request”. I’ll then be notified and merging their code into mine is easy. Not that I’m expecting that to happen with my library though, especially since people can just combine it with their own library.

paulc's avatar

@Vincentt, I’m not sure what you mean about “stuff you just dumped.” I’m looking to grow the project, not drop it on a site and leave it.

Vincentt's avatar

Ah, that’s an entire different case, sorry for misunderstanding.

In that case, I think the most important thing to do is define the type of person that the project would be uesful to and to find related projects with people that might be interested.

Oh, and a site you might like is Ohloh.

timothykinney's avatar

The best thing to do, in my opinion, is find one or two people who are willing to dedicate some time to the project with you. Get them involved at the ground stage where they can feel it is their project too. Then put the project up on the web where other developers can look at it (like sourceforge) and become involved. There are a LOT of projects out there. Don’t assume that just because you put your project online, anyone is going to flock to it and start developing. You need to do some legwork and get people involved from the beginning. After the project has a few people working on it, you might start to see some programmers interested in working on it…but it’s more improbable for them to want to join a one-person-project and make significant progress on it.

Get on some forums, like DevShed, and start meeting programmers. Once they know you, it’s a lot easier to ask them if they have time to work on a project with you.

Good luck!

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