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LCA: How to destroy your community

Jan 29, 2010, 18:33 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Corbet)

"Josh Berkus is well known as a PostgreSQL hacker, but, as it happens, he also picked up some valuable experience during his stint at "The Laboratory for the Destruction of Communities," otherwise known as Sun Microsystems. That experience has been distilled into a "patented ten-step method" on how to free a project of unwelcome community involvement. Josh's energetic linux.conf.au presentation on this topic was the first talk in the "business of open source" miniconf; it was well received by an enthusiastic crowd.

"If you are a corporate developer, you're likely to realize early on that free software development communities are a pain. They'll mess up your marketing schemes by, for example, taking the software into countries where you have no presence and no plans. They'll interfere with product roadmaps with unexpected innovation, adding features which you had not planned for the next few years - or, worse, features which were planned for a proprietary version. Free software communities are never satisfied; they are always trying to improve things. They tend to redefine partner and customer relationships, confusing your sales people beyond any help. And they bug you all the time: sending email, expecting you to attend conferences, and so on. Fortunately, there are ways to get rid of this community menace. All that's needed are the following ten steps."

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