>A Salute to the Lone Open Source Coder

>Bob Sutor has an interesting entry saluting the Lone Open Source Coder and giving some tips and advice to the lone coder. I’m one of those guys he mentions, I work on several different open source programs. These include the Mylyn Mantis Connector, CDK Scheduler, and a few others that I’m a committer or creator. I’m particularly proud of the CDK Scheduler that was written for GBPVR. I needed the ability to priority schedule recordings on my home theater pc, and it wasn’t on the immediate future for the GBPVR author to do it. So I wrote it myself, and open sourced it for others to enhance. A few others did, and it fit the bill until GBPVR got the feature itself. Speaking of which, the author of GBPVR is a lone coder…unfortunately it isn’t open source.

Along with this, I started thinking again on how the eclipse community is setup. While it is still largely reviewed as run by commercial adopters and members. There is a under appreciated group of people that help drive much of the eclipse ecosystem. That is the individual committer. This is a person who either through attrition with employment at a prior strategic member company, or through sweat, blood, and tears fought their way through the hoops and obstacles into becoming a committer on a project on their own. According to the DASH committers project report, these are the numbers currently for active committers:

  • IBM – 68 – 31.19%
  • Individual – 33 – 15.14%
  • Oracle – 19 – 8.72%
  • Actutate – 17 – 7.8%
  • Eclipse Foundation – 9 – 4.13%
  • RedHat – 7 – 3.21%

That shows currently behind IBM, that the second largest committer base right now, are the individual committers. What is even more interesting is that this group of individuals has committed, roughly 32.77% of the code in 2009, and we are not even a month into the new year.

I can highly recommend for project leads in eclipse, looking for new an interesting projects that could benefit the community as a whole, to cruise sourceforge once in a while. There truely are some hidden gems there. In fact the VEX, XML Security Tools, and XSL Tools all originally started out in one form or another as indivual sourceforge projects. The issue for all of these projects is working through IP issues in getting them hosted at eclipse. So Bob’s stress point on keeping a log or bug tracking system of who contributed what and when, is important. The more documentation one has in this area the easier the migration.

The individual committer is actually the hidden gem at eclipse. So my hat goes off to the individual, for they may not be doing it because “it’s their job”, but because they see the grander picture and want to help in some way. At least that is my hope.

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3 Responses to >A Salute to the Lone Open Source Coder

  1. >I don’t think it’s fair to look at the 2009 numbers yet… it’s too early for something meaningful. If you take a look at the 2008 numbers, you see that individuals made up 22% of contributions. That is a significant number.

  2. David Carver says:

    >Chris as always you are correct. I was too lazy to look farther back. Howerver, your link still shows a pattern that is proceeding into 2009. Taking a look at 2007 we find the same pattern. IBM number 1, Individuals number 2. Infact in 2007, individuals made up 26% of the commiters that contributed code.

  3. Mik Kersten says:

    >That said, individual committers are still a very significant portion of the momentum behind Eclipse. I’ve chatted with Chris and the other committer reps about the fact that, at the board level, it can be hard for us to get a sense of the collective needs of the individual committers. Part of the challenge is that there is no unified voice for the individuals, as there tends to be with the lead representative for a company. If anyone has ideas on how we could get more signal on the needs of the individual committers, it would be great to hear those before the next board meeting At EclipseCon.Mik KerstenCEO, http://tasktop.com/blogLead, http://eclipse.org/mylyn

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