>A Healthy Ecosystem Needs Diversification

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Like a rain forest, ocean, or even Ed Merk’s water garden or fish tank. Diversification and balance in an open source project is key to long term survival of the project. It helps make sure that the communities voice is being heard and not being dominated by one particular group. The same holds true for the various councils and committees within an organization. If there is not balance then one side tends to dominate. While this may be alright in the short term for the dominate side, long term it has a negative affect.

Eclipse has a good resource in getting an idea of the diversification that a project has. The project diversity report by the Dash projects gives a good starting point. Is one group overly dominate in your project? Are you always constrained by apparent resource constraints? Are you actively promoting and recruiting new committers? If you are a strategic member, are you looking to bring in committers only from your company or are you looking to bring them in from the community?

We are all time constrained, but sometimes we become too territorial. Not wanting to let others in. Not wanting to change or adapt. The barrier for a person outside of the eclipse membership to become a committer can be overly complex. Once in place, there can be too much process and wanting to stick to a plan instead of being able to change to the communities needs.

The community in many ways wants to help, but how easy we make it for them to help will be a key in getting any new help outside of the current membership. It’ll affect the diversification and ultimately long term life of that project. Look beyond your current company, actively seek the hidden gems out in the community. Encourage them where it makes sense. Be open to new ways of working, new ideas. The entire ecosystem of your project will thrive if you are willing to embrace it and address the communities needs over that of one dominate member or group within a project.

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2 Responses to >A Healthy Ecosystem Needs Diversification

  1. >I question whether these statistics are accurate. I doubt that IBM has done 92% of the commits to CDT this year.

  2. David Carver says:

    >@Chris: I can’t comment on it for other projects, but for WTP these are pretty accurate numbers. It also depends on how the person that committed the code is currently categorized. If you think the numbers are off, I would suggest opening a bug report against the DASH project.

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