Building an Open Source Community? Help Is on the Way
Bugs, system conflicts, and errant bits of code add unique challenges to the technical area of open source development. They also affect a project's community -- and as any community manager can tell you, developing a healthy community is often more difficult (and has higher stakes) than rogue code.
Management is tough all round, but managing open source projects is different still. Most developers are giving their time because the project interests them, and non-developers join because they find the project useful, and they want to share their enthusiasm. But a community not being any one remotely homogenous group means that passions sometimes run high, and it's not always easy to keep a project's community -- it's life -- moving forward.
It may have just gotten easier. Ubuntu's Community Manager, Jono Bacon, announced his upcoming book, The Art of Community will be available later this year.
Bacon says the book will cover the basics of building a community and keeping it moving forward, but that communities are stories, anecdotes, and experiences, and discussing the first without the latter would simply be a textbook.
The Art of Community is slated for publication later in 2009 by O'Reilly. It will be available in print format, under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. In the meantime, Bacon will be posting updates, previews, and excerpts on the book's web site.