January 2010

The editorial theme for the January issue of the OSBR is "success factors". Which factors separate the open source projects that provide quality software and receive wide-spread adoption from other projects which are not well maintained? What traits should a business look for when considering which open source software to use? How does a company decide which open source project to contribute to, partner with, or use as a base to build its products or services?

The authors in this issue explore: the importance of well defined processes, the value of documentation to end users, the diverse tasks of a community manager, the value provided by participants who don't contribute code, and how a community can assist in creating training materials. Each concentrates on a particular success factor, and as a whole, provide a fuller picture of what to look for in a successful open source project or company.

George Neville-Neil, a member of the FreeBSD Project's core team, examines how one particular open source project has developed processes which provide its users, customers, and partners with a product that is stable, reliable, and long lived.

Janet Swisher, a professional technical writer, describes the importance of user assistance to the success of open source projects and offers some suggestions on fostering community contributions to open source user assistance.

Brent McConnell, a Community Consultant at Collabnet, presents some of the actions open source community leaders can take to concurrently deliver results and a system that encourages productivity and longevity.

Mekki MacAulay, Principal of OSStrategy, discusses how passive participants in open source ecosystems play an important role in value creation in the ecosystem.

Belinda Lopez, Training Project Manager for Canonical, explores curriculum creation models and some of the conditions that are necessary for successful collaboration between creators of existing open source documentation and commercial training providers.

Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation, answers the question "How can a community be considered "open source" if its primary objective is to promote commercialization?".

As always, we encourage readers to share articles of interest with their colleagues, and to provide their comments either online or directly to the authors. We hope you enjoy this issue of the OSBR. Starting on January 8, we will offer a weekly column written by open source experts, in addition to the monthly issue of the OSBR. Our first columnist will be Stephen Huddart, Vice President of the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation. You can view the column on the OSBR website and blog.

The editorial theme for the upcoming February issue of the OSBR is Startups. Submissions are due by January 20--contact the Editor if you are interested in a submission.

Dru Lavigne



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