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Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project Paperback – October 14, 2005
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About the Author
In 1995, Karl Fogel co-founded Cyclic Software, a company offering commercial CVS support. In 1999 he added support for CVS anonymous read-only repository access, inaugurating a new standard for access to development sources in open source projects. That same year, he wrote "Open Source Development With CVS" (published by Coriolis), now in its third edition via Paraglyph Press.Since early 2000, he has worked for CollabNet, Inc, managing the creation and development of Subversion, a version control system written from scratch by CollabNet and a team of open source volunteers, and meant to replace CVS as the de facto standard among open source projects. He also participates in various other open source projects as a module maintainer, patch contributor, and documentation writer.
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Top Customer Reviews
Contents: Introduction; Getting Started; Technical Infrastructure; Social and Political Infrastructure; Money; Communications; Packaging, Releasing, and Daily Development; Managing Volunteers; Licenses, Copyrights, and Patents; Free Version Control Systems; Free Bug Trackers; Why Should I Care What Color the Bikeshed Is?; Example Instructions for Reporting Bugs; Index
Fogel definitely has the "cred" to write this book. He's spent five years working on the Subversion open source version control system. While not (yet?) the default open source version control system out there, it's rapidly gaining traction. As a result, you figure that Fogel and company must have done a few things right along the way. He does a very nice job in explaining what makes for a successful open source project in terms of tools, structure, and most importantly, culture. He identifies open source projects that have successfully created a culture that encourages participation without dictatorial control. He even addresses how to deal with people issues like monopolizing discussion boards. Those are items that most techies aren't good at, and having a guide like this is priceless.
At times the book seems to be rather dense, as in a lot of text with little to break it up. I think it's because there's no real use of graphics or code samples to a large degree. I wouldn't expect it in a book like this, either.Read more ›
(Full Disclosure: I was a technical reviewer for this book, and was thoroughly impressed with it while reviewing it.)
I would rate this book a *must read* for open source project leaders and product/project managers who have a substantial interest in succeeding with open source software. I would rate this book a *good to read* for developers who want to better understand what their project managers and leaders are trying to manage.
One of the best aspects of this book is the fact that it was developed and published by folks who really understand open source software, and who will, when the time is right, issue a revised and updated edition when sufficient constructive feedback/learning experiences have been received. This continuous community relationship is why this book is a *must read* for managers: it is the best of its class, and even if you disagree with some aspect of it, you can hash that out in public and expect your criticism to be dealt with in future editions. If you don't read it, you can't criticize it, and it won't be better for you the next time around.
I had a lot of links about Open Source but nothing concrete or unifying. I decided that I should buy a book on the topic. My mind was muddled and I had dozens of questions that I'd need answered.
I searched and found this book. As soon as I started reading it, the author was answering my key questions. Throughout the book, the author covered more like a hundred details. His experience in the field demonstrates that he knows what he's talking about.
I learned that people-management (including how to work with conflicts, different agendas, etc) are more important than the project code itself. I also learned the importance of good documentation. And, as the author quickly pointed out, most Open Source projects are unsuccessful.
I felt that the book spent all its time on the people-dynamics and didn't say much about technologies. Not only was I new to group-development, but I'm still not sure what products to use or how, for example how to set up a forum and run it, send out mailing lists, run a web site, and so on. I guess the author just thinks these are the simple things and not worthy of mentioning. The book is small, given its great coverage of material. I was just hoping, however, that there would be a chapter on technologies. I do know the basics of version control systems, which are required, but not used to working in a team.
Since I don't have experience with leadership or management, Open Source work may be too demanding at present. This is not a criticism of the book, however.
If you are considering doing Open Source work, then this book is a must-have. The book is well written.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Karl is the master and this book is the bible for OSS communities.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great read if you're curious about how to improve the chances of success for open-source software projects.Published 7 months ago by Eric L.
I read the book to learn how to run an open source project (Orisi.org), but got insight that proved valuable in my commercial enterprises as well. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Tomasz Kolinko
The book is full of experiential and pragmatic knowledge about producing open source software. But it starts from the very basics and does not put too much interesting material for... Read morePublished on February 10, 2013 by U. C. YILDIZ
This book really is the bible of community software development. Karl gives sensible advice for all the common problems which people have in open source development. Read morePublished on February 13, 2011 by Dave Neary
This SoHo Books version has absolutely abhorrent typesetting decisions with headings that are out of order as well as text fonts that are far too small which makes the book almost... Read morePublished on May 1, 2010 by Samuel Moffatt
This book is really good for those who want to make their projects open source, or just want to know how to deal with their already done project. Read morePublished on February 6, 2009 by Felipe Ferreri Tonello
Issues specific to Open Source are well-covered in this book. I found the section titled "Handling Difficult People" especially useful; his advice in this dodgy area is to act... Read morePublished on June 3, 2008 by Adam Monsen