>Importance of Recruiting in Open Source

>Most of the time, how long a project survives, can be tracked to how actively the committers recruit help on their projects. I’ve witnessed this first hand on several projects on Sourceforge. The ones that tend to thrive and survive embrace and recruit help from the community. When help is offered they go above and beyond trying to make it as easy as possible to contribute.

Why should you as a committer try to recruit help? Because you are more than likely not going to be able to do it all yourself. If you try, the project will eventually suffer as you won’t be able to respond to the communities needs quick enough. I had a manager once that said, “You should always be looking for your replacement.” This is especially true of open source projects for their long term survival.

Recently I’ve switched jobs and my amount of time I have to devote to various eclipse projects is greatly reduced. This is not to say that I’ll be leaving eclipse, just letting the replacements I helped recruit take over the slack.

So my tasks for eclipse will migrate back to some pet projects in the XML world. Mainly, focusing on the XSL editors, and getting the WTP DOM to full compliance. I’ll also still continue in helping setup an XML Development Tools project at Eclipse, as well with some build duties. However, these tasks alone will take up the majority of my open source time. So where does that leave the other projects I helped bring into the WTP Incubator?

  • PsychoPath Processor – I have effectively turned day to day planning and maintenance over to Jesper. I’ll be involved still but not as actively code wise as I once was. PsychoPath is a vialable alternative to other XPath processors, and is growing it’s adopter community. I consider it one of the better successes I’ve been involved with.
  • XQuery Development Tools is starting to grow with recent code contributions from IBM, and the existing committers from MarkLogic and 28Msec. I’ll act as mentor, and help guide them toward graduation, but will not have much in the way of code contributions.
  • Vex – Visual Editor for XML – is thriving now. In the last year we have grown to 3 individual committers, and they are planning for a graduation to coincide with Indigo next year. I see very good things from Vex and glad to see it thriving and growing.
  • XML Security tools is going strong, but I would like to see more promotion and recruiting done to help out the project. It is an undervalued but important part of any SOA related project.

So that leaves the one pet project that I may have to let go of completely or archive. The RelaxNG Development Tools project. It is something of a pet project but not something I have active time to devote to now. If RelaxNG support in Eclipse is important to you, consider looking at the code and contributing to it. I make it as easy as possible for people to join the projects I’m part of.

Looking for your replacement on the project, can you help ensure that it may survive and thrive long term.

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