Engagement is a Gift: Welcoming New Community Members

At its beginning, every open source project starts with code, and one or more developers. What turns that project into a community are the people who engage with each other around that code. No matter what the maturity level of your project, one of the most important things to encourage and maintain is engagement with the users and contributors of your projects.

When a user of your project makes the effort to engage with the developers of the project, treat it as you would a gift from someone close to you. This person has taken time that they could have spent on something else, and they have chosen to spend that time contacting you. Whether it is a bug report, a feature request, or a pull request, these first interactions are critical to whether that person will have a positive or a negative impression of your project. (more…)

Community Impact with Local Meetups

In order to increase the community outreach of Red Hat in Brno I, together with Jakub Čecháček, decided to organize a meetup that would bring together a community of people with a common interest in open source and cutting edge technologies in the enterprise software world.

Our goal is to bring the latest open source libraries, frameworks, and projects closer to technology enthusiasts. This meetup is aimed at all kinds of audiences, including software and quality engineers, architects, product managers, and evangelists. (more…)

Contributors are Empowered When They Know the Process

There is a saying in the legal profession that you should never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. Despite how this sounds, it is actually a rule most people follow in life. This is the source of that feeling you get when you’re too scared to raise your hand and ask a question. In Open Source we need to make sure that contributors feel like they already “know” the answers, so they will feel confident in making the request.

As a university lecturer, I always encouraged my students to first think about what they thought the answer was and then ask the question. In some cases, I encouraged them to actually write down what they thought the answer was. In this way, they could judge both their skills and their ability to grow based on what the answer turned out to be. It created an additional feedback loop.

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Happy Birthday CentOS!

Today, CentOS turns 15 years old. It’s had hard times and good times, and gone through a number of big changes over those years. We feel that we’ve landed in a really great place over the last five years, as part of the Red Hat family of projects, and we’re very excited about what’s coming with CentOS 8, and the years to come.

Right now, we want to look back at how we got where we are now. We did that by going back and talking with some of the people that were involved in those early years, as well as some that joined the project later on. (more…)

Five Surprising Things When Open Sourcing Proprietary Software

When a piece of proprietary software that has been developed for a few years is being open sourced, there is often a perception in the engineering world that it should be quick and painless. After all, what’s involved besides picking a license and making the code repositories open?

Here are a few things that come up when moving from a proprietary to an open source development model for a project. (more…)

Three Tips for Running a FOSDEM DevRoom (Or any Single-Track Event)

(With Leslie Hawthorn)

For the past three years, we’ve run the FOSDEM Community DevRoom, welcoming speakers from the ranks of open source maintainers, community builders, FOSS non-profit organizations, and agile coaching. We’ve also been fortunate enough to get great reviews on our program curation and DevRoom facilitation, so we’re sharing a few tips to help people who’d like to run a DevRoom at FOSDEM.

This list isn’t just for FOSDEMers, though; it’s good for anyone who needs some getting-started advice on running a single-track program at any event!

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