Linux and Main: The Release Managers
Sep 04, 2002, 13:00 (0 Talkback[s])
"Big projects don't just happen. Linux users from the commercial
operating system world probably have assumed that in big
corporations, there is a distinct organization whereby employees
are instructed to do the work that results in the shipped product.
But they may never have stopped to wonder--or maybe they have--how
big free software projects get organized and come to fruition.
After all, there is no 'power of the paycheck' to encourage the
largely volunteer force of programmers who, while dedicated, could
without penalty decide to do something else instead. So the
'release manager' for a big project has to combine the management
skills of a corporate executive with the diplomacy of a successful
salesman -- on its face, not an easy job.
"But beyond dealing with the people involved, the task of riding
herd on a big project is itself daunting. The sheer number of
details that must be watched over, the sheer amount of organization
required, would send many business school graduates fleeing in
"The release managers of two projects, at least one of which is
used by most Linux desktop users, were kind enough to endure an
email interview by Linux and Main. They are KDE's Dirk Mueller and
GNOME's Jeff Waugh. They are different personalities from different
parts of the planet. Their answers are remarkable more for their
similarities than for their differences..."