Sustainable Development in F/OSS
I gave a talk at Rencontres Mondiales du Logiciel Libre, or the Libre Software Meeting 2010, over three weeks ago. I promised to put slides online, but travel, a music camp, and a publication deadline conspired to delay them. I also wanted to clarify a few points in the slides, which then turned into a more substantial rewrite as I discovered more and more things which didn't make much sense without me explaining them verbally. And then I showed them to my brother, an experienced BSD conference presenter, who suggested a bunch more changes. But I'm happy to announce that the (rewritten) slides are done!
The time and energy which developers spend on open-source projects is not an infinite resource. Developer effort can stall due to external demands on their time (such as family, career, or health), but also due to internal factors (such as a loss of motivation or interest). Long-term projects (5+ years old) should try to engage in sustainable development practices. How can we retain developer interest? How can we prepare for the inevitable loss of developers? How can we train the next generation of developers? This talk draws upon experiences from GNU/LilyPond (a 14-year old sheet music typesetter), but makes general suggestions (and warnings!) for users, developers, and project leaders.
Talk source (released under CC BY-SA 3.0): sustainable.tar.bz2
Requires latex-beamer, includes raw data for git commit counts, but not the scripts which generated that data. I left those on my Glasgow computer by accident, but I could send them to anybody after Aug 3 if they really want.
Later edit: my scripts have been uploaded to Graphing commits per developer.