“Producing Open Source Software” by Karl Fogel – Chapter 3

Technical Infrastructure

This chapter focuses on technologies needed to help people working together in a free software project.

You have to be prepared to handle correctly the information, to avoid repetitions, and make everybody feel that they are working in a team and the communication channels help the work, not disturb it.

Two ideas in mind for information management:

  • Don’t waste human time doing tasks that a machine can do. Automate all these tasks using suitable tools (there are lots of) and trying to stablish scalable procedures (as your community may grow). One tipical example of things that can be automated is mailing management, through mailing lists.
  • Don’t automate things that require human attention. Technology may help people in taking decisions but what makes a free software project work is human involvement.

The chapter include a list of tools that can be considered as a checklist in order to get them prepared to serve when a project starts. The tools analysed are: Mailing lists, Version Control Systems, Bug Trackers, IRC / Real-Time Chat Systems, RSS Feeds, Wikis and Web Site. Appendix A and B complete the information with a list of free Version Control Systems and free Bug Trackers.

It is interesting to think not only about which tool to use for our project (which mailing list manager, which version control system…) but also the rules for granting access to them, the Netiquette related and which problems may arise in the community because of the use (or misuse) of these tools. And begin to write down each tool’s policy. Chapters 4 (Social and political infrastructure), 6 (Communication) and 8 (Managing volunteers) may help on this.

About larjona

My name is Laura Arjona Reina, I am a libre software user and fan of the free culture. If you want to contact me you can write an email to larjona [at] larjona [dot] net I am @larjona at identi.ca in the Pump.io social network. --- Me llamo Laura Arjona Reina, soy usuaria de software libre y fan de la cultura libre. Si quieres contactar conmigo puedes escribir a larjona [en] larjona [punto] net Soy @larjona en el servidor identi.ca, de la red social Pump.io.
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