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From Bertrand Delacretaz <>
Subject Re: Of One-man Efforts and the like
Date Fri, 20 Feb 2004 20:02:53 GMT
Le Vendredi, 20 fév 2004, à 20:19 Europe/Zurich, Hunsberger, Peter a 
écrit :
> ...Now, exactly, how you go about building a community is another 
> question.
> But, it seems that perhaps some of the Cocoon project members might be
> willing to help?..

After starting an Open-Source project myself (jfor, see the story [1]), 
which for several reasons failed to attract a community of developers, 
and later joining the very healthy Cocoon community,  I'm still 
wondering what it takes to build a community.

I think it has a lot to do with the kind of project: with Cocoon, being 
targeted to developers, it's way easier to build a community of 
developers than with projects targeted to end users (and also, 
obviously, once the project reaches a certain level of recognition it 
is even easier).

Users will come, use your stuff, maybe complain a bit or praise a bit, 
some of them might help a bit on the mailing lists but it's usually 
very little compared to the number of downloads.

Developers will come, use your stuff and find that they can improve it 
with the same tools and skills that they need to use it, and get better 
at their craft in doing it. This makes it much easier to contribute 
than if you have to learn a different skill set for contributing than 
the one needed to use the software.

Rather than "improve it" I should say "extend it" - improving in the 
sense of fixing bugs does not give you as much "fame" as contributing a 
completely new thing. This is also an important factor IMO.

Jisp might be somewhere in the middle, as developers can use it as a 
black box without knowing much about how it works. And contributions to 
Jisp, as I understand it, would be more in the area of "improve it" 
rather than "extend it".

Anyway it's not easy, and until a project reaches a critical mass it 
needs lots of investment, in time, effort and money (as you have to eat 
in the meantime), and as with all investments one can get out of steam 
at some point, it's very understandable.

My 2 cents!



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