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Recognizing and Avoiding Common Open Source Community Pitfalls

May 19, 2009, 01:32 (0 Talkback[s])

"(B) Your community will help you build HARD DIFFICULT FEATURE X. Contributors are more likely to work on components that show quick wins. If a large amount of code changes are required to visualize any progress, your average contributor ... unless he is heavily vested in the technology, really really likes seeing computers on weekends, or has a very tolerant and awesome boss, is unlikely to work on any such features for long. Even small bugfixes may not be something many users attempt if they get confused by trying to trace a difficult code path. Furthermore, if the feature is "enterprisey", and not directly useful to them, they are very unlikely to help work on it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though -- maybe a codebase modular and simple to work on, and you can get often get folks to knock out a lot of small items. (Can a module be written to an API without needing to understand the codebase at all? Great!) Not to say there aren't some rockstar contributors that code large features -- but they are generally rare. In order to solve this problem, continually fight to keep things simple and keep the code extensible enough so that no addition becomes unduly burdensome. This is easier said than done."

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