42 votes
Accepted

How can I get users to read the docs/FAQ before asking new questions?

Just to play devil's advocate: One thing you may want to consider is that your current documentation might be suboptimal - no one may be reading your documentation because it isn't useful (to them). ...
user avatar
  • 536
24 votes
Accepted

Can I select who can contribute to my Open Source Project?

You, as the maintainer, can decide what you merge into your project. That doesn't prevent others from forking and maintaining their own version of the code though. If you post the code to some place ...
user avatar
  • 708
22 votes
Accepted

FLOSS projects : How and where can I start contributing?

Where can I start contributing? There are two obvious stages to this: pick a language, pick a project. Pick a language You should pick a language with which you are familiar and proficient. I'd ...
user avatar
  • 8,750
19 votes

How can I get users to read the docs/FAQ before asking new questions?

There are a bunch of strategies that help you deal with beginner questions. Not all of them teach to RTFM, but you don't have to. Some strategies that can be very effective: Mobilize your userbase ...
user avatar
  • 9,006
14 votes

Can I select who can contribute to my Open Source Project?

I think you're mixing up two concepts here. The quote you provided is for people using your software. If you want your software to be open source, you have to accept that everyone is permitted to use ...
user avatar
  • 10.8k
14 votes
Accepted

Licensing Community Wiki Posts at Stack Exchange

You're conflating features of the Stack Exchange engine, which copyright law doesn't care about, with ownership and licensing. All user content (i.e. the posts and comments, not the user interface ...
user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

How to deal with unaddressed bug reports?

Ultimately, if the developers are working on the project as a labor of love, they're going to work on what they want to work on. You can't expect them to prioritize your issue just because you asked ...
user avatar
  • 31.3k
12 votes
Accepted

What do I do if my contributors are split into two camps?

Been there, done that. Why does it happen? In my experience, a split due to creative differences usually happens because different people have a different idea of what the project goal actually is, ...
user avatar
  • 11.3k
12 votes

FLOSS projects : How and where can I start contributing?

How and where should a newbie like me start? Pick a project you use, and that you think can be improved (a bug needs fixing, there is a feature that you would like to see added). Make sure your ...
user avatar
  • 8,705
11 votes
Accepted

How to keep open source projects up to date

What you're describing is called a Version Control System or revision control system. It essentially stores one canonical copy in a central place, which can be downloaded, edited, and committed back ...
user avatar
  • 8,750
10 votes

How to deal with unaddressed bug reports?

Apsillers' answer is perfect, I will just add a case study about the last paragraph ("Money talks"). My open source project (1.5 million users) has had users pay third-party companies for features. I ...
user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

What's the difference between different membership levels in the Linux Foundation?

(disclosure: I am a supporter and my company is a silver member of the Linux Foundation). TL;DR: Higher levels of membership pay bigger fees and have more say in the running of the Foundation with ...
user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Enforceability of codes of conduct for smaller projects

Codes of conduct aren't just about the relationship and interactions between the community members and the maintainer(s), but about the interactions between all community members - e.g., what language ...
user avatar
  • 3,807
9 votes
Accepted

Do open source projects have better or worse female participation than proprietary projects?

Significantly less female participation. It is estimated that female participation on open source projects is at about 2%, compared to 10-30% overall in computing or proprietary projects. For overall ...
user avatar
  • 8,533
9 votes

How can I get users to read the docs/FAQ before asking new questions?

"Nobody" reads the f-ing manual. But let me detail my answer a bit. It's statistics you see... One only reads the manual when there is absolutely, positively nobody around that even remotely has ...
user avatar
  • 191
9 votes
Accepted

What research explains why so many programmers invest time in creating free libraries?

Of course there is no single answer to this question. The motivation can change over time and over individuals but I will try to list a few common reasons. For ideological reasons People who invented ...
user avatar
  • 5,277
8 votes
Accepted

On what grounds can companies bring open source projects into closed source?

An open source license is a grant from the copyright holder to someone else, giving them additional rights. If I give you the rights to version 2 of my work, I don't have to give you rights to use ...
user avatar
  • 359
8 votes

Can projects undergo a hostile takeover?

Yes. To do so, you need to fork a project (thereby becoming the BDFL of that new project) and just simply have your fork be more popular than the original project. It's not really hard at all, ...
user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

How to stop/mitigate damage from abuses of the Collective Code Construction Contract (C4)

Based on what I read the safety is that the process happens in the dev branch not master. Essentially no harm is done as long as someone spots the problem within a reasonable time period: for i = 1 ...
user avatar
  • 354
8 votes

What's the best way to convince an open source library to change their API?

Submit a patch. (Or multiple patches.) Note in your submission that the patch makes breaking changes, so the maintainer can increment the version number, or whatever signal they use to notify ...
user avatar
  • 1,675
8 votes
Accepted

Method for accounting for non-code contributions?

I'm not aware of any hard metrics that can be used to automatically count non-code contributions (and I'm not sure there could be one) but I do know about projects that (1) survey contribution types ...
user avatar
7 votes

Are there actual service businesses or freelance orgs for non-programmers to hire devs to update FLO software?

This of course varies from project to project, but yes: there are both businesses and freelancers who do this. But more so for large free software projects, than for small ones. As an example, look ...
user avatar
  • 8,705
7 votes

How can I get users to read the docs/FAQ before asking new questions?

As a project leader, for years I have tried to answer every single question coming to the mailing list of my user-oriented software, and I have found that: Many users can't read much English and don'...
user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

What are the best ways to get involved with open source projects?

Answer to your first question, getting involved with an open source software is as easy as looking at the About section of your favorite software. There are loads and loads of open source ...
user avatar
  • 623
6 votes

On what grounds can companies bring open source projects into closed source?

First, the most general case: All common open source licenses permit any legal entity to make a private copy and to use it for their private, internal use. Some common open source license (Copyleft/...
user avatar
  • 4,119
6 votes

Can I select who can contribute to my Open Source Project?

Carefully selecting which changes are accepted, and which are rejected is one way that you control the direction of your project. Accept all submissions, and you'll end up with a mess, or at the very ...
user avatar
6 votes

FLOSS projects : How and where can I start contributing?

The first thing you should do is select a project. A good place to start would probably be a project you already use, or are at least passionate about. Second, I'd do some lurking - subscribe to the ...
user avatar
  • 3,807
6 votes
Accepted

Where to find people interested in contributing to an open source project?

I think the question should be the other way around: How does people interested in Open Source development find you and your projects? My answer would be: be visible and provide easy ways to get ...
user avatar
  • 540
6 votes
Accepted

Did it ever happen that an open source project's leader (BDFL) died? If so, what happened to the project?

My colleague at the Ballistic Research Laboratory, Mike Muuss, leader of the BRLCAD project (also well-known as the author of the "ping" network testing utility), was killed in an automobile accident. ...
user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

How do you get someone to use or even contribute to your Open Source project?

The typical project life cycle: build something that's useful, but buggy people start using your software because it is useful people are annoyed because your software is buggy, and is missing ...
user avatar
  • 33.8k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible