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Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project Paperback – Oct 17 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
If you're reading from the context of a business person trying to understand different monetization models of open source projects, this may not be the book for you. Licensing and revenue models are covered almost as an after thought though there are a few good facts that can point you in the right direction (e.g. dual licensing schemes).
Overall, a good book regardless of your background if you're looking to understand open source projects and whether you should go forward with one.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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. But still, it's just one of those things that came to mind as I was reading it. If you have the same nagging feeling and can quickly identify it, then it's easy to deal with the problem.
Very valuable information, all condensed into a single volume for easy reference. I'd maintain that anyone looking to start an open source project with hopes of long-term viability would do well to read and digest this book before starting. You'll make fewer false starts and raise your chances of success...
(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.
Fogel presents lots of down and dirty day-to-day details on how to create excellent software. Not just Open Source, either... the transparency built into the processes he describes are also useful within a company firewall.
Fogel places a huge emphasis on development by random unsalaried people, but I feel that most important and rapid development is due to corporate sponsorship.
Overall: excellent. Read it cover to cover, refer back to it often.
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