"In the first part of this series we looked at some of the
background that surrounds open source and software development. In
this part, we will discuss and focus on successful open source
projects and try to understand what makes them so successful."
"There are two well known open source development models. The
first model, is one most famously followed by Linux and in some
sense Perl. It is often known as the benevolent dictator (BD)
model. In this model, a well known authority or established figure
is the overall controller of the entire project. Overall design and
long term decisions are taken by this person. All bug fixes, coding
issues and implementation details could be handled by associates or
maintainers for the individual parts of the code. The name for this
model stems from the fact that while the leader of the project
chooses to remain neutral and evaluate proposals on their merit,
once in a way, a particular design decision could be made by the
dictator right against the code maintainers'' choice. This
privilege of pulling rank in an open source project is used rather
infrequently. In the case of Linux, Linus Torvalds, guides the code
and in many ways, the overall direction that the Kernel takes (note
the Kernel != Linux). In the meantime, he has been content to let
companies battle to position Linux in various positions, as they
see fit. By being neutral to the various niches, he can avoid
seeming to lean towards any particular company or distribution.
Larry Wall has also performed a similar role for Perl, although
with recent versions of Perl notably Perl6 this BD known as a
language designer, albeit that term is used as wine would be in a
different bottle. This model is highly adaptable and mobile. In the
truest sense of the word, this model can allow developers to modify
code quickly and easily to suit requirements. This model depends
highly on the BD and his ability to foresee the eventual direction
of the project, manage design issues and if the need arises apply
bug fixes and write quality code."
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