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SourceForge at Tek12

I’ll be at Tek12 next week. If you’re coming to the conference, I’d love to talk with you.

In particular, if you have a SourceForge project, I’d love to talk with you about it for the SourceForge blog – possibly record a podcast.

I’ll also be speaking speaking at the conference.

Tek is one of my favorite conferences. It’s small, but it’s filled with amazing speakers from the PHP world, and I always come away with new inspiration.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Chris Tsai, Support Ninja

This week, Chris Tsai took a few days of vacation time, and I covered for him.

Let me clarify. When I say “I covered for him”, what I mean is that I tried, frantically, to keep up with the flow of email, tickets, and IRC queries, which Chris handles all day, every day.

Chris is our front-line technical support guy at SourceForge. He’s the guy that gets your complaints, comments, and bug reports, via the ticket system, email, and IRC. These queries vary from password reset requests and requests for documentation to requests for legal advice and help on getting some of our projects’ software working.

By the way, we are a project hosting company, and we have thousands of projects hosted here. We are not, and cannot be, experts on all of those projects, so requests for help on configuring FileZilla and editing audio with Audacity are redirected to those communities.

And we are not lawyers, and so request for legal advice are redirected to the Software Freedom Law Center.

I thought, when he showed me what I would need to do in his absence, that it would be a snap, and I would be able to get my own job done too. Not so. I quickly discovered that Chris is a support ninja, and that I can’t hope to measure up to his skills. It’s not that the volume of support requests was huge, but, rather, that because of the number of different developer tools we offer at SourceForge, Chris has to know an awful lot of things in order to answer the breadth of questions that are asked.

SourceForge offers revision control using Subversion, Git, and Mercurial. We have the ability to host various applications in your web space, as well as wikis, ticket trackers, databases, mailing lists, and discussion forums, and Chris supports all of these, with, as far as I can tell, a relatively small percentage of the inbound requests being escalated up to the second line of defense.

So, all of that to say, you are in good hands when you host your project at SourceForge.

Oh, and also, that Chris is never allowed to take a vacation again.

Announcing The New Community Team

We’re very excited to announce our new community team here at SourceForge. Several recent events have caused us to re-organize and enhance our community focus. With Elizabeth moving on, we’ve created a new Community Team with three different roles designed to help SourceForge projects succeed.

Roberto Galoppini is our Senior Director of Business Development, which means he’s in charge of bringing new communities and organizations into the SourceForge fold, as well as helping encourage SourceForge projects to explore their business potential. Roberto has taken an active interest in different open source projects and organizations. He’s also served on some advisory boards, and helped large IT vendors, open source vendors and customers to design and deploy their open source strategies.

Rich Bowen is our new Community Growth Hacker, picking up where Elizabeth left off, helping SourceForge project communities grow and be successful. Success has many definitions, including drawing new developers and new users, responding to the feature requests and bug reports of existing users, and developing strategies that result in healthy, self-sustaining communities. Rich is a member of the Apache Software Foundation, and is the author of a number of books about the Apache HTTP Server.

Chris Tsai, who you may be already familiar with, is our Support Technician. He’s the public face of SourceForge on IRC, answering user’s questions and complaints in the #sourceforge channel on irc.freenode.net, and is the first responder to support tickets and emails we receive. Chris is both the youngest (in age) and oldest (in time at SourceForge) on the team, and to date has responded to and closed over 16,000 SourceForge support tickets.

Together, we’re communityteam@sourceforge.net, and we’re dedicated to the health of our SourceForge communities. When you’re successful, we’re successful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you might have about any aspect of SourceForge. You can contact us at the above email address, at the above-mentioned IRC channel, or at @sourceforge on Twitter. Or watch this blog for announcements of conferences near you where we’ll be showing up.

The SF Blog Opens it Up

You may have noticed some recent changes here at SourceForge (and if not, that’s ok too.) As a new member of the SF.net team, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Elizabeth Naramore, and I work as the OSS Outreach Coordinator here. Basically, I get to help ensure that we are doing what we can to help our projects succeed. My outreach also includes interacting with the SF.net and FOSS communities through outlets like this blog and Twitter, so you’ll see my face here quite often.

Who am I?
I’m a PHP enthusiast that has been working with PHP since 2002. Besides being a coder, I am an author, editor, speaker, and an active member of several open source communities, such as PHPC, PHPWomen, and OINK-PUG. I’ve also helped organize conferences such as php|tek, CodeWorks, and the Cincinnati Day of Agile. Also, I am proud to say that I earned my Pitfall Harry badge by sending in a picture of my TV screen showing my high score. A crowning achievement, indeed.

Opening Up
One reason why I’m thrilled to be here is SourceForge’s long standing commitment to open source, and the fact that we continue to be more open ourselves. Our Service Operations Group (affectionately known as SOG) has recently opened more of our internal tools, including peppet 2.0 (a push-based configuration management platform) and a permission based filesystem, based on FUSE and an Apache module. This new filesystem powers our new secure web hosting platform, for which we’re sending out early beta invites.

In addition, you will see us continuing to focus on the FOSS community at large. After all, open source is something that is very near and dear to our hearts, and it always has been. If there is something we can do to keep this industry alive and vibrant, then we’ll do what we can to make that happen. And besides, without open source, we wouldn’t have much to do around here except listen to our servers hum themselves to sleep at night and maybe get in some Starcraft time.

So what does that mean, “focusing on the FOSS community?” One part of that means that there will be a shift on our blog toward the bigger picture. We love the open source projects here, and we will still blog about them. And we will also keep honoring some of our more successful and long-standing projects with the “Project of the Month” spotlight. But we also want to give you resources to help you make your project better, such as how to recruit more people to the team, how to refine your deployment process, how to overcome obstacles with global team collaboration, how to get more users for your software, why documentation matters, and what your options are for licensing. We want you to know about community-run open source events and cool things user groups are doing. We want you to know about tools that might help you code or help your team collaborate with each other. We want to share lessons learned from other projects. In short, we want to talk about things that matter to you.

With that, we’ll open it up. Tell us what you want to hear about. Tell us what we can do to help your open source project succeed. Because, honestly, when open source wins, everybody wins.

Post your comment below, or hit us up on Twitter (@sourceforge). We have a bright, open future ahead of us, and we’d love for you to be a part of it.

Meet the staff: Community editor Lee Schlesinger

Today’s a legal holiday in the US, but we like to post an entry in the blog every weekday to keep you from getting bored. I can’t promise to relieve the boredom today, because today’s entry is about me.

My public face on the site is that of the author of these blog posts. I also send out the monthly SourceForge newsletter. If you follow our Twitter feed or like our Facebook page, you’re seeing more of what I do. Recently I also began helping out on Slashdot, our sister site, posting occasional articles when regular authors are away or unavailable.


Lee Schlesinger

My job title deserves some explanation. When I joined the company in 2003, it was as an editor for sites that provided original content for people interested in open source and information technology – NewsForge, DevChannel, ITManagersJournal, and Linux.com. All have since shut down, except for Linux.com, which is now produced by the Linux Foundation (and still worth visiting). When I moved to SourceForge.net last year, my primary role was to foster community, so we simply combined the new and old roles into a hybrid title.

While the company is based in California, with a large contingent also in Dexter, Mich., I work out of a home office in Florida. For many years I worked daily with people I’d never met face-to-face. Geeknet has been a pioneer in supporting remote office workers – it lets companies get the best people for the job even when those folks don’t live close to the company.

Because I’m not local, most of my co-workers don’t know about my secret hobby – acting and working in community theatre. In the last year I’ve had small parts in the musicals “Annie,” “Gypsy,” and “Crazy for You,” and helped moved sets backstage.

Parting words of wisdom: Project leaders, take a minute to add a screenshot to your project. You know what they say about how many words a picture is worth. And make sure you have forwarding properly set up for your @users.sourceforge.net e-mail address. All too often I try to contact a project so I can write about it, only to have my message bounce as undeliverable.

You can follow Lee on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.