Fogel's "Producing Open Source Software"

A community is more than just a bunch of people. It’s a shared set of values, and rules for how to behave. By this standard, the open source community isn’t just what some programmers choose to do with their time, and why; it’s also how they do it.

Karl Fogel’s new book, Producing Open Source Software, is an excellent guide to that “how”. Every page offers practical advice; every point is made clearly and concisely, and clearly draws upon the author’s extensive personal experience. Want to know how to earn commit privileges on a project? It’s here. Do you and other project members have irreconcilable differences? Fogel explains when and how to fork, and what the pros and cons are. Want to get your project more attention? Want to take something closed, and open it up? It’s all here, and much more.

There aren’t many people who write as well as Brian Kernighan, and there haven’t been many books that can measure up to classics like Software Tools and The Unix Programming Environment. This “operator’s manual for open source projects” meets those exacting standards, and makes it look easy. It deserves five stars, and ought to be read by everyone who takes software development (open or not) seriously.

Karl Fogel: Producing Open Source Software. O’Reilly, 2005, 0596007590.

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