Don’t Let Your Project Suffer Because of Founder’s Mentality

If you want to build an open source project, you can’t let your ego stand in the way. You can’t rewrite everybody’s patches, you can’t second-guess everybody, and you have to give people equal control. ~Rasmus Lerdorf

There’s a certain mentality that can creep up and slowly destroy open source project development. It’s dangerous in a way that nobody really notices it’s there or that it is destructive, except at the very last moments. It’s the founder’s mentality.

Yes, sometimes the very reason a project can wither away is because of the founder. You might ask, “But how is this possible? Aren’t the founders of a project the people who want the project to succeed the most?” While this is true, the founder’s mentality can surface without the founder’s knowledge, and can grow out of his dedication to keep the project alive.

How the Founder’s Mentality can be a Bad Thing

Generally the creator of the project is the person who has the most drive and dedication to develop the project, and this is a good thing. However, it can turn bad once it hinders project development. But how does it do so?

  • The founder takes all the responsibilities upon himself. As the project founder you may feel quite attached to your project, and you may also feel the need to always be “hands-on” with every aspect. It’s hard to shake this practice off as most projects start that way: with the founder doing everything on his own. Even after some project growth, a founder may feel he must be there to implement every idea, answer every question, promote the project, fix every bug– but the fact of the matter is, he can’t. Chances are, he won’t be able to complete any one task thus hindering project development; and he’ll only end up stressed and overworked.
  • The founder makes all the decisions. Making the big project decisions are no doubt the responsibility of a project founder, but making all the decisions certainly isn’t. Some decisions can be handled by managers or other seasoned team members. Not all decisions have to go through the founder especially of an already established project. Such a practice can only stunt the growth of a project.

How to Grow Out of the Founder’s Mentality

  • Focus on what you’re good at. You may be good at several different areas of project development but let’s face it, you really can’t be doing them all. Learn to let go of some of these responsibilities and focus on the areas where your specific skills are most useful.
  • Delegate. It’s tough to hand over important aspects of project development to others, but if your project is to achieve continuous growth, you will have to do this. The key to doing this correctly is to make sure that you delegate tasks to the most competent and experienced members of your team, set proper expectations and make sure that the right processes are in place for them.
  • Trust your team. Delegation is just the beginning. You have to learn to let go of some of the reins and trust that your teammates are going to make the best decisions and actions. This trust starts by finding good, talented individuals; recognizing and nurturing their talents; and finally, developing a culture of trust and support.

Remember, just because you’re the project founder doesn’t mean that you have to do everything yourself. Help your project grow by growing as a founder yourself, away from the grips of the founder’s mentality.

December 2016, “Staff Pick” Project of the Month – Tcl

For our December “Staff Pick” Project of the Month, we selected Tcl, an interpreted language and very portable interpreter for that language.

Tcl is a very powerful yet easy-to-learn dynamic programming language that’s been widely used since its creation in 1988. It is highly embeddable and extensible, cross-platform and suitable for a very wide range of uses. These include web and desktop applications, networking, administration, testing and many more.

Open source and business-friendly, Tcl is a mature yet continuously evolving language. It is highly-rated among the projects featured on SourceForge, and has been nominated as “Community Choice” Project of the Month in previous months.

Learn more about Tcl by visiting their website.

 

[ Download Tcl ]

Projects of the Week, December 5, 2016

Here are the featured projects for the week, which appear on the front page of SourceForge.net:

SMPlayer

SMPlayer is a free media player for Windows and Linux with built-in codecs that can also play YouTube videos. One of the most interesting features of SMPlayer: it remembers the settings of all files you play. So you start to watch a movie but you have to leave… don’t worry, when you open that movie again it will be resumed at the same point you left it, and with the same settings: audio track, subtitles, volume… SMPlayer is a graphical user interface (GUI) for the award-winning MPlayer, which is capable of playing almost all known video and audio formats. But apart from providing access for the most common and useful options of MPlayer, SMPlayer adds other interesting features like the possibility to play YouTube videos subtitles. Note: for those people complaining about malware in the windows installer: be sure you download SMPlayer from the official website. Our installer is completely safe and free of malware.
[ Download SMPlayer ]


championify-logo Championify

Championify brings you the critical information you need to succeed in League of Legends by downloading all the latest items from sites like Champion.gg, Lolflavor, and KoreanBuilds and importing them into your game. Get the highest winning builds, most popular skills upgrades and more and achieve the best in League of Legends with Championify.
Championify is available in 39 languages, packed with new features and supports Windows and OSX.
[ Download Championify ]


Password Safe

Password Safe is a password database utility. Users can keep their passwords securely encrypted on their computers. A single Safe Combination unlocks them all.
[ Download Password Safe ]


Manjaro Community Torrents

This project is for download the Manjaro Officials and Community releases using a bittorrent client (console or graphical)
[ Download Manjaro Community Torrents ]


vJoy

This project was originally designed to provide an open-source replacement for PPJoy. The product, at this point, consists of virtual joystick devices that is seen by the system as a standard joystick but its position-data is written to it by a feeder application. An existing feeder application that takes advantage of this product is SmartPropoPlus. If you are an application writer you can very easily write an application that controls a joystick (e.g. mouse-to-joystick, keyboard-to-joystick). If you are a beginner in device drivers you can take this code and enhance it to support more (or less) axes, buttons or POVs.
[ Download vJoy ]


fre:ac – free audio converter

fre:ac is a free audio converter and CD ripper for various formats and encoders. It features MP3, MP4/M4A, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, AAC, and Bonk format support, integrates freedb/CDDB, CDText and ID3v2 tagging and is available in several languages.
[ Download fre:ac – free audio converter ]


Synology Open Source Project

Open source projects that are included with Synology DiskStation/RackStation series. The license used by these projects are different. Please refer to the LICENSE / COPYING / COPYRIGHT file inside each project or any announcement in source code.
[ Download Synology Open Source Project ]


Battle for Wesnoth Android Port

This is an unofficial android port of the PC game Battle for Wesnoth. Battle for Wesnoth is a turn-based fantasy strategy game, featuring many addictive campaigns, lots of units, different races, AI controlled players, multiplayer gaming and much more.
[ Download Battle for Wesnoth Android Port ]


Freeciv

Freeciv is a free turn-based multiplayer strategy game, in which each player becomes the leader of a civilization, fighting to obtain the ultimate goal: to become (or subvert) the greatest civilization.
[ Download Freeciv ]

Apache OpenOffice Reaches Record Mark of 200 Million Downloads

Apache OpenOffice reached a milestone this week, gaining a record mark of over 200 million downloads. It’s an achievement that, according to Apache OpenOffice Vice President Marcus Lange “is an acknowledgment of the previous work and a great motivation for the future.”

Recently the project experienced a high demand for their most current release 4.1.3, which was released just last October. Lange mentions in the official blog post that there are still many ways to distribute Apache OpenOffice, but that it is safe to say that Apache OpenOffice has one of the highest user bases in the world of free software projects. For that, he is immensely grateful to the users and everyone who has supported them thus far.

SourceForge has long been a proud partner of the Apache OpenOffice community, and in support of their great accomplishment, we’ve decided to add Apache OpenOffice to our list of featured projects. For the entire week next week, you’ll find Apache OpenOffice right on our homepage. It’s our way of saying congratulations, and here’s to more great milestones to come!

Download Apache OpenOffice, or visit their blog to know more.

December 2016, “Community Choice” Project of the Month – ReactOS

For our December “Community Choice” Project of the Month, the community elected ReactOS, an operating system based on the best Windows NT design principles. The team behind the project shared their thoughts about the project’s history, purpose, and direction.

SourceForge (SF): What made you start this project?
ReactOS Team (RT): ReactOS was started by a group of developers who, while impressed by the NT architecture of Microsoft’s Windows family, desired a more open development environment. They felt that not only would such an environment be beneficial to all developers that target Windows, providing insight into just how the underlying system actually works, but also provide a means to improve on the security and stability of the system by letting more people participate in its development.

SF: Has the original vision been achieved?
RT: We are still some ways to achieving complete application and driver compatibility with the NT5 family.

SF: Who can benefit the most from your project?
RT: Software developers seeking to understand how Windows works under the hood, OS developers/hobbyists who want an example of a non-Unix style OS, and users who require an NT5 era Windows platform for application or hardware compatibility, and who want continued updates for security and the like.

SF: What core need does ReactOS fulfill?
RT: With Microsoft having end-of-lifed the NT5 family, including XP and 2003, users who would prefer that environment, or a much more lightweight Windows environment, would be better served by ReactOS when it is completed.

SF: What’s the best way to get the most out of using ReactOS?
RT: Try it out on VirtualBox or VMware, and don’t go in expecting everything to be perfect yet. If you’re ready for some tinkering, or excited about the ability to customize everything, you’ll quickly find things to try or areas to take a deeper look at.

SF: What has your project team done to help build and nurture your community?
RT: Probably the biggest effort to help build our Community started a couple [of] years ago when we defined a new Product-Community strategy. As our first milestone we launched a crowdfunding campaign letting the Community decide which apps they wanted to see start working in ReactOS. The main objective of this move was not just to raise some funding for such on-demand development but also striking news, reaching new users, showing them their opinion counts, and helping them to find that lot of software was already working. This, as planned, enlarged our Community but, even more important, it helped build a closer relationship with them. The new site released at the same time, and largely requested by the Community, has been proven to improve the first overall impression of the ReactOS product itself.
Since then, and as part of our second milestone, we created several scripts which share in our social channels a constant flow of information from all our services. The best fixes from our Jira bugtracker, the latest videos from our ReactOS Youtube channel, blog posts created by developers or official news from the ReactOS website are, among others, shared now automatically. Now the Community can track how ReactOS is evolving daily and interact in real time with it. These interactions help attract new members to the Community and enhance a closer relationship with the current ones. Nowadays we’re probably one of the most complete in sharing infra among the open source projects out there.

SF: Have you all found that more frequent releases helps build up your community of users?
RT: Very much so, we’ve increased our release frequency considerably this year and have seen a far greater influx of new users and testers on our forum. Word of mouth is our only advertising way and seems to combine perfectly with a faster release tempo.
At the same time, our current 3 months lapse helps to feel the difference in terms of stability and compatibility within releases.

SF: What was the first big thing that happened for your project?
RT: We’ve had quite a few milestones in ReactOS’ history. The first time the OS booted by itself instead of being bootstrapped by DOS, the first time we were able to switch between two windowed applications, the first time network communications worked- there were a lot of big things over the course of the project.

SF: What helped make those happen?
RT: All of the milestones we’ve achieved have been due to the hard work and very often tenacity of our developers and testers. Some of these guys had to get very creative in solving the problems they encountered in trying to develop an OS from scratch. Also we can’t thank enough the support of our donors. Since we don’t have any company supporting our development, they are the ones helping to hire new developers and paying our server bills.

SF: How has SourceForge and its tools helped your project reach that success?
RT: All of our releases are done through SourceForge, helping us to reduce the cost of distribution of our product. The metrics that we get from the downloads provide us with a good idea of where our prospective user base is from.
These metrics help us to understand our users’ behaviour: Are they willing to test bootcds or livecds? Are we attracting more users release after release? How does it affect the downloads, a faster release cycle as we’re doing now? How does a particular marketing action done affect the ReactOS downloads? How is the inertia (download of old releases) evolving?
But also it helps us to predict the expected visitors in our website for the next releases so we can ensure the needed resources for the peak days.
Handling and analyzing correctly this data proves to be an amazing way to discover the health of the project and summed to the rest of our analytics helps to draw a roadmap of our actions.

SF: What is the next big thing for ReactOS?
RT: There are several next big things coming pretty soon. The first one is the integration of the results from this year’s Google Summer of Code. Also we’re working hard on having Word 2010, Java RE and Google Chrome supported, since they are the apps selected by our Community in the IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign.

SF: Do you have the resources you need to make those happen?
RT: So far we’ve been fairly fortunate this year, contributions and manpower have been quite steady and we expect to get the improvements in without too much fuss. With that said, ReactOS is on its way to reach Beta status. Beta supposes a jump in quality and for such we’ll need to place full time developers to reach it. Reaching Beta is not as costly as one may think but some extra resources will be needed.

SF: If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently for ReactOS?
RT: ReactOS took a few shortcuts in its early days to try to achieve as many user-visible improvements as possible. Those hacks have been the source of considerable headaches as the team implemented more functionality correctly.
Looking back, we probably should have fought that particular temptation and done the software engineering right the first time around.

SF: Is there anything else we should know?
RT: ReactOS is now hiring!. Thanks to the donations and contributions from our Community we’re planning to hire a new developer. So if you are skillful in Windows APIs or you are willing to help us in fixing bugs, you can just drop an email here.
Feel free to follow the progress of our current hired developer, Hermès, through his blog posts, discover what’s coming in the next release, or join the Community in Twitter, Facebook or Telegram.

[ Download ReactOS ]