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From maxj07 <>
Subject How contributors participate in this community?
Date Wed, 08 Feb 2012 04:55:56 GMT

  I am a phd student of Peking University. My interest is to
investigate hybrid projects (open source and backed by companies), e.g,
how it affects volunteers compared to the beginning open and free world.
I studied Geronimo through its log files in SVN, issue reports in Issue
Tracker, emailing-lists and information all over Internet, found some
interesting results, also have a couple of questions, hope any of you
wouldn't mind reading and answering.

Geronimo seems to go through two periods since is was born in 2003 
a)Period1: 2003.08-2005.04, open source period
b)Period2: 2005.08-2010.08, hybrid with IBM's support, IBM provide Expert Technical Support
for Geronimo
If I'm wrong, please correct me.

1) It seems that Geronimo gets less external developers after IBM's
support -- I identified external developers through the committer list on Apache website 
(committers not from IBM are regarded as external developers. See 
Is that because a new protocol requires a long process to get commit
privilege? Or, people just simply didn't like any commercial companies
getting involved therefore ran away? E.g, Similar case in JBoss: "There had been rumors
swirling about various people leaving JBoss after its acquisition by Red
Hat, including Marc Fleury." (See

I also observed that JBoss showed the similar phenomena after RedHat stepped
in. I suppose commercial involvement might hurt people in open source to
some extent, I wonder what it is.

2) However, I found Geronimo developers stay shorter after IBM supported it. 
I am very curious about two things:

(i) Only 2 out of 20 developers left before IBM supporting, why are so
few developers leave and so many developers stick to this Open Source
project at that time? Did those developers come from the same company or
work in the same location? 

(ii) Whether most of the active contributers were recruited to support
the community after IBM's support? So IBM would decide who is assigned
to work on Geronimo and how long they would stay in the project? 

3) People always say one big advantage of OSS is to have a big amount of
users reporting issues therefore help improve quality. During 2005 to
2008, right when IBM began to support Geronimo, there was an big
increase of users(saying 5 to nearly 20 users per month) reporting
issues. However, I found a decrease (dropped to around 10 user-reporters
per month) since the end of 2007. So I wonder what happened to the
community since then? Is there a new way faster to report issues? Or is
that because IBM restrict the usage of JIRA so as to ensure the issue
quality, such as it requires users to first ask in maillist then in

I also found developers are the majority of issue reporters, not only in
Geronimo but also in JBoss nowdays. I was wondering, is that because
JIRA is more for developers now (users are in maillist or forum or smth
like this)? Or, developers are required to report before jumping into
fixing/changing code? 

I believe what Geronimo is doing has great implications for software
engineering, e.g, how to build a better community, what are the best
practices to attract participators. I would greatly appreciate any
comments you might have.

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