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Lost in a sea of repos. Open source dilemma

Matt

Posted in OSS Market

Photo by Jesse Chan
Photo by Jesse Chan

5 ways to grow, retain and serve communities around open source. Go beyond contributors, members and engage users, evangelists, influencers, consultants and all those who make a difference. Engage them all.

How are developers using open source?

For a start, the most prolific use is around Containers, Cloud and DevOps. These categories hardly existed a few years ago when open source was playing a free or low cost game to a leading commercial piece of software. Categories like Big Data, Security, Web Servers, and Toolsets around development and testing have well established user bases. So what influenced that transformation? Today, large corporations are starting projects or releasing them into the open source world even though core development continues to be largely internal. Tensorflow, Reactjs are just a couple of names in context.

"Open source can propagate to fill all the nooks and crannies that people want it to fill" - Mitch Kapor

So, if organizations want to fill, extend, and find newer use cases, how can open source projects ride this wave?

What is already working well

Steady and predictable release cycles, great documentations, super easy trials or starters, active community & support are some of the winning traits of top open source projects. Most of these, if not all are directed towards users who actively use the tech for their work, but rarely contribute back. It makes sense to engage this group seeing the size of the community is what drives growth. It's the perfect network effect where more users means more value for everyone.

So what can projects do to take it to the next level? They must make it more attractive to the users of their tech. At Reqost, we are working on a few areas that can help projects do more.

List Jobs

Instead of users searching in 3rd party job boards, we make it easier to connect them right on the project page. Cut out all the pain of searching and reviewing so that users are able to land opportunities that are directly related to their work and passion. If good documentation made them productive, jobs are the ultimate prize.

Support Evaluations & Comparisons

Developers spend a lot of time reviewing, comparing, prototyping in isolation. A very tiny percentage come online and share. Make it easier to collaborate and reduce duplicate work. Supporting this will also provide great insights to the project to know what users value and what their priorities.

Certifications

Large Enterprise Tech companies have long harvested the benefits of certified developers to drive confidence and selection. Businesses care about getting the job done. Supporting a qualified, ready to hire developer base can easily swing things in your favor.

Case studies and References

Another classic strategy adopted by Enterprise Tech companies. Selection of technology within a company is not an individual decision, and users need to provide references to make a case for something to be considered and adopted. Incentivize and showcase case studies right on your project page.

Implement, Integration & Migration

Unofficial estimates suggest that for every one dollar spent on buying technology, another five dollars gets spent to implement, integrate, and migrate data, rules etc., add in support and training and it starts to make a complete meal. Go beyond community and support partner programs as they are the real influencers behind technology selection.

Open source has come a long way from being a free alternative to robust tech that is ready for business. Of course aligning with business just makes sense, and that's our mission at Reqost, to support projects and empower them with the services and insight needed to drive adoption.

Reqost - An open source service provider.