Evangelism refers to the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not hold those beliefs….also known as spreading the Gospel“. — Wikipedia

An interesting set of tweets came floating across my screen today. Somehow the topic of open source project evangelism came up. In regards to Evangelism, I’m not necessarily sure that is the best word to be used, maybe Promotion is a better term.

Some have said that the Eclipse Foundation, should do more, but they have 90 plus projects to promote, and really the Foundation’s resources should be on promoting the values of eclipse and the EPL. Promotion has to come down to the project stake holders.

The age old argument of not enough time and resources is always used, but as with anything else, if growing your community is important to you, then you make the time to promote it. Now this responsibility does not have to fall on one particular individual. In fact from an open source stand point, this should be a team and community effort. If you want the word to get out, you have to take some of the responsibility in promoting your project yourself.

There are many good examples from the eclipse community.

Mylyn, and Xtext both come to mind. Bioclipse is another. Promotion comes in many forms, the simplest being a blog that contains a status update of your project. Twitter is another simple form to hit a wide audience. Promotion for a project is the main responsibility of the project, not the foundation. It has a wider promotion goal it has to meet.

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9 Responses to >Evangelism

  1. >I agree that projects are, in the main, responsible for their own specific promotion. But I also argue that the Foundation should be doing more for at least three reasons: (1) the Foundation should be promoting general participation in Eclipse projects, (2) the Foundation should be recruiting for the core projects specifically (that's even one of the Foundation's explicit goals), and (3) the Foundation should provide services (such as helping with with evangelism) over and above what is available "in the wild" as a benefit for projects hosted at eclipse.org.

  2. David Carver says:

    >Bjorn I agree…to a point. The problem is that most projects at eclipse do not do any promotion of their project. They want the foundation to do it all.These projects just want to write code. For these projects there is only so much the foundation can do. The ones that in many ways are successful in promotion are the ones that do it because the committers really believe in what they are working on.Mik has done an excellent job with Mylyn, it is recognized not only within the eclipse community but outside of it as well. I'm not sure I can say that about too many other eclipse hosted projects. Promotion is not something that can be passed off to another entity. A project and it's community have to take responsibility for promoting it.

  3. Scott Lewis says:

    >I second Bjorn's statements…and want to also point out that the statement in your blog: "It really does come down to the project stake holders to do their own promotion" sort of presumes a structure that is common at EF although not very desirable: that a single stakeholder company owns/controls each project (i.e. no project diversity). Who is the stakeholder for a project that is actually diverse and community driven?And Dave in your response to Bjorn you say that: "Promotion is not something that can be passed off to another entity". I would say that the more common case for many projects is that they do all they can WRT promotion on their own, but they get zero promotion/support from the Foundation for their efforts (ECF is my example here…as we have been quite successful in promotion and community adoption (and in fact community contribution), but are limited because we do it all ourselves…and get absolutely *NO* support from either member companies or the Foundation…even though ECF is consumed/used by several companies and EF projects (including the IDE). I agree that Mylyn/Mic has done good job at promotion, but to be fair they have gotten a lot of support directly from the EF/EF personnel since the project was started.

  4. David Carver says:

    >@Scott – When you have a diversified project, the stake holder is the team involved with the development and the community as a whole. This is why I say also say that it does not have to fall to one individual to do the promotion and should be the responsibility of the team as a whole.My prior experience from working with a non-profit organization greared toward promoting the adoption of a standard is that there is only so much an organization can do to promote the projects it governs. Eclipse has 90 plus projects and growing, it can not give them all the equal same amount of attention. The organization has to take a step back in general and try to do promotion not at each project specific level, but as a ecosystem as a whole. Unfortunately, it this means some projects do get more attention as a whole than others. Believe me Scott I can understand the pain, the XML components in eclipse are leveraged through out many projects, but in certain aspects I don't think they get enough promotion. Part of that has to do with the foundation and it's focus on what the members and the ecosystem are saying they want.I do not necessarily see where the foundation has shown favouritism or extra support to Mylyn, most of the effort I see is from the committers that are working that project.Project promotion does need the foundation's support, however the main effort and work still has to fall on the project itself.

  5. >I agree with Bjorn!I think the Foundation does a good job at #1 and #2, I think we are weak on #3 since Wayne doesn't do it fulltime anymore.

  6. Scott Lewis says:

    >@David,RE: stakeholder…nice idea, but in practice the diffusion of responsibility can result in the stakeholders (and consumer's of a given project's work) pointing fingers at each other instead of actually providing help to the project.You say: "Project promotion does need the foundation's support,…"That's all that I'm saying should be done. In my case (ECF) they have provided none over 7 years. As zx and Bjorn say, I don't think the EF is doing very well at 3 in general…particularly for the projects that aren't owned by member companies."…however the main effort and work still has to fall on the project itself."In general the project leads that I'm aware of do all they can with the resources they have available to them…and do a pretty good job of it. Of course, some are more equal than others because of *resource allocation* (which, like it or not is a major function of the Foundation).

  7. Ian Skerrett says:

    >DaveNice post and I agree with a lot of what you wrote. I think the Foundation should provide the services to help enable promotion of the projects. This is why we create Eclipse Live, Marketplace, Demo Camps, Eclipse Days, etc. We try to create opportunities for the projects to promote themselves.In my experience, the most effective promotion is great technical content. Unfortunately this usually has to come from someone close to the technology, so the project committers need to be involved.I would love for us to do more and I think we can do more. I am trying to start an e4 evangelism group. Maybe if it is successful we can expand into other areas.In the meantime, if anyone has ideas or help for promoting their project, please feel free to contact me.

  8. Ian Skerrett says:

    >btw, I forgot to mention that you do an amazing job promoting you xml work!

  9. >Dave,Kathy Sierra said it best: "You ARE a marketer. Deal with it." Pretending that the Foundation can even come close to the marketing/evangelism a project can and should do for itself is a disservice to all involved. We are the channel, not the content.

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