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Building Communities

Aimed at Package Teams

December 2009
 The big picture
(in case you forgot)

 What motivates
contributors

 Three steps to get
contributions

Wiki: Building a community for a package
Before we start …

Choose a work
partner, form a
group

Copyright © 2009 Symbian Foundation. 2
Welcome!
Exercise 1

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The Big Picture
The Big Picture
The Big Picture
The Big Picture

Creates
NEEDs
to
participate
& contribute
Why Open Source?

V al u
e
from
eco-
syst Open
em
Source
Tax
Value
from
extra
code
Contributions CAN significantly offset the Open Source Tax
 Why go open source in the first place, if this was not true?
 Open source CAN create a vibrant eco-system
 more NEED to contribute  even more contributions
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Owning a package is not free!!
 Open Source Tax = resource is used because:
 People in package specific roles spend some percentage of their
time…
 Monitoring and answering questions on mailing lists,
forums, etc.
 Engaging with councils and the foundation
 Managing package specific resources such as Wiki’s,
backlogs, bugzilla, etc.
 Negotiating with internal stake-holders (within and outside
their team)
 Going to community events
 Promoting their package
 Keeping public and internal SCM and bug tracking systems in
sync
 Deciding what features differentiate vs. collaboration
 Deciding how to work with the competition
(commonly called co-opetition 1) )

1)
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coopetition
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Contributions don’t just come
 Consider the following experiences from other open source
projects (Eclipse & Apache)
 If you open source it or built it, they (contributors) will come
 In reality this rarely happens
 If this were true, we would have much more contributions
 Just look at sourceforge.com and its many dead projects
 Getting Contributions = putting in effort = Higher Tax
 Active evangelism, solicitation and selling your technology
 You are lucky: technology managers are here to help, but they can’t do it
alone
 Successful Open Source Projects =
 Technology demand
= the technology is wanted
 Diverse Contributions
= many contributions from many companies
 Alignment between open source and commercial products
= yourself and contributors benefit from coopetition

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So, what does this mean?
(assuming the Open Governance
model)
Put in enough
Put in little = Get
contributions
 Few contributions  Contributions offset the Open
 Little to offset the Open Source Tax
Source Tax  can also help reduce risk!
 Development has just  can lead to better technical
become solutions (different
viewpoints make better use-
 more complex cases)
 more expensive  Development has become
 … for no return cheaper
 but not necessarily simpler !
 Your team can focus on
features that differentiate

Copyright © 2009 Symbian Foundation. 11
Green Shoots: Organizer
package
Sharad, the organizer
package has been working
with SUN to add CalDav
support to the calendar app.

SUN has NOW a committer
on the package Sharad
(Max Odendahl) put a lot of
effort working
with Max

Max, the committer has been
VERY active at SEE
The SUN feature will be
used by Nokia

Copyright © 2009 Symbian Foundation. 12
Welcome!
Exercise 2

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Welcome!
Exercise 2

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What motivates Contributors …

Copyright © 2009 Symbian Foundation.
Why would anyone contribute
code?
 Companies and individuals contribute to satisfy a selfish NEED
 Reduce cost:
 Avoid re-applying defect fixes onto different releases
 Avoid branching (and associated costs)
 Enable other business:
 Add APIs/Frameworks that enable a service or a product that is sold
 Add enablers or a to a platform
 Protect investment:
 Establish your software as de-facto standard before somebody else does
 Gain and maintain influence over software that is critical to the business
 Competitive weapon: gain an advantage over others
 Legal reasons: copy-left

 Understanding these NEEDs is one of the keys to getting contributions
 Often companies are looking to project leads/package owners for advice !
 Understanding these NEEDs helps convince companies to contribute !

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Competitive Weapon: some Examples
 Save cost by collaborating
 Lower cost producing saleable products and services  cash to spend on differentiators
 A market position that reassures customers that they won’t be locked in
 Reset the competition
 An open-source project, created at the right time, can diminish momentum of closed-source
competitors
 It can change competition from an area where the initiating company is weak to one where it
is strong.
 Example: Google with Android and Chrome OS
 Prevent a strangle hold
 Open sourcing a technology aims to prevent the competition from controlling a particular
technology
 Increase the potential of building a coalition =
 Example: Mozilla prevented Microsoft from controlling HTML and the HTTP protocol.
 Grow the pond: a tactic to become bigger is to grow the market (the pond)
 The economic reason why technology firms participate in public standards.
 Open-source software establishes de-facto standards.
 Example: Eclipse, RCP and RPM across most Linux distributions.

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Three steps to get contributions

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Three steps to get
Contributions
 Step 1: Be present and responsive
 Landing pages & wikis
 Mailing lists & forums & bugzilla
 Step 2: Evangelize your technology – create Buzz
 Online media such as blogs, etc.
 Events, talks, meetings, etc.
 Step 3: Actively recruit contributors
 This is pretty difficult and requires practice and building
experience

• A supportive package team,
where
several team members play a
role,
makes a big difference
• Not an easy job!
• The foundation can help with 2
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Step 1: Presence
 Ask yourself how future
contributors find out about
your package ?
 Landing Page
Presence  Wiki’s
is important  Backlogs

for companies  Ask yourself how future
& people who contributors get first in touch
want to with you ?
contribute  Mailing lists
 Forums
 Bugzilla

Lack of information = Not being present
= No contributions
Lack of responsiveness = bad first impression
= impacts interaction

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Some tricks regarding communicating
Introductions and communication
 Introduce new community members
(e.g. Committers, contributors) on mailing lists or your blog
OR ask these people to introduce themselves
 Encourage people sending e-mail to use your mailing lists

Thanking
 Thank people who raise a bug, provide a patch, etc. on your
mailing list

Respond
 Sometimes you won’t have time to respond immediately
 That’s OK, but respond and say “I can’t do this now, but will
get back to you in 2 weeks. Remind me if I have not done so!”
 Show that they are making progress re contributions
Step 2: Evangelize your
Technology
 Evangelizing gets you noticed by potential contributors
 Every open source community evangelizes
 Not doing so puts you at a disadvantage
 Creates potential connections that can lead to contributions
 Nokia Examples:
 Gorkem Ercan's blog on Planet Eclipse
 Ariya Hidayat on Qt Labs blogroll
 Ken Ryall's blog on Planet Eclipse

 Channels:
 Your team’s blog
 Magnified through blog aggregators, e.g. Being present
 http://planet.gnome.org is not enough!
 Conferences Presence only gets
 Talks & Panels you noticed by
 Host Bird of a Feather sessions those looking
for you!
 Host Community events

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Welcome!
Homework

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Welcome!
Exercise 3

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Now to the
REALLY hard part

Step 3: Actively
recruit
contributors

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Using and making Industry Contacts
 Initially use existing contacts that you and your team has.
 You probably know them already on a personal level
 Thus, you will feel more comfortable having a discussion
 They will be more friendly
 Ways how to leverage existing contacts:
 Network with people in Nokia who have open source experience
 Discussions on how your contacts might benefit from contributing
(e.g. practice with friendly suppliers and partners)
 Other team members contacts, e.g. product & line managers, etc.
(get introductions, involve them, get their advice, etc.)
 Companies that work with other open source projects
 You can learn about their motivation (NEED)
 Often they like talking about what they are doing and why

 Be aware of the competitive landscape
 makes it easier to know whom to approach
 makes it easier to point out contribution opportunities

 Talk to your competitors (e.g. at conferences)
 BUT: align and keep in touch with your managers

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Where is the NEED?

Asking
companies for contributions
is NEVER enough. Companies
and individuals contribute
for a reason (a NEED). Ask yourself:
What is the
incentive for
companies to
help you?

If there is no incentive, there
will be no contribution.

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NEEDs for features creates
OPPORTUNITY for contributors
 Gaps in the platform + products built on top of it = NEED
 Example: homescreen & extra operator customization capabilities
 Sharing plans to fill a gap too early can destroy a NEED
 Not sharing plans erodes confidence in your package

 Bridges to 3rd party products and services = NEED
 Example: peripherals, BSPs, connectors to service APIs – convergence creates
many of these
 Motivation: more sales for the 3rd party

 Apps exploiting cutting edge technology = NEED
 Example: Augmented Reality Apps may benefit from an AR framework
 Motivation: save cost & influence what the framework looks like

 Professional services companies may have very different NEEDs, e.g.
 track record to show their work, to get them more business

Patterns for NEEDs will differ depending on
technology
 You will need to learn through
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experience
Other Tactics …
 The best one is to be able to explain a NEED to a contributor
 BUT remember: if you explain to an engineer, he will have to talk to
his managers first
 Advertise NEEDs on your blog, on the package Wiki (Hot Bugs =
“Attention_Required” keyword), during face to face meetings.
 BUT: but don't be desperate about it
 AND contributions still need to fulfil quality, architectural, etc.
standards – so don’t take any contribution just because it satisfies a
NEED
 Sometimes you can create a NEED
 By developing & publishing a proof of concept to a FCL
 Evangelizing what you have done (on blogs, etc.)
 This has been shown to work (but will not always work)

 Foundation staff can help identify NEEDs
 Check the IDEAS site (ideas.symbian.org)

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Make use of the Foundation
 Foundation staff have a network of connections
 In particular Technology Managers, Community
Managers and our membership team
 Bounce ideas and problems past them
 Get introductions

 Foundation staff can help identify NEEDs
 If you approach a company
 Keep your technology manager informed
(builds trust)
 If you need advice, just ask

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Personal Relationships are Key
i n g fa ce to
Meet kes it
 Meet face to face … fac e m a
i e r to build a
 But how in times of restricted travel? eas u nity
c o m m
 Combine with events and already planned
travel
 Always build in a social element: lunches It buil
ds
trust
clubs, beers, dinners, stammtisch, etc. and
mutu
al
respe
 Once you have a core set of contributors ct
 one face-to-face meeting a year will help solidify
relationships And helps buil
da
community ha
t
can withstand
IF you can make your community a friendly place, where conflict (which
people's opinions are taken seriously and are acted upon, THEN
individuals will work harder to convince their management to
will happen)
stay engaged with your package and make more contributions.
IF it is NOT a friendly place, with no trust and respect built,
they may contribute something and then move on.

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You SHOULD read ...
 The Art of Community
 By Jono Bacon
 http://www.artofcommunityonline.org/
 Interesting and relevant
 Chapter 1 (What is Community). Chapter 2 (Planning), Chapter 6
(Communicating), 7 (Measuring Success)
& 9 (Handling Conflict)
 Free on-line version

Focuses on how to attract
individuals to a community

But also on general
difficulties, recipes, etc. On
building communities

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Welcome! Make a
pledge

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EPLing the code: the opportunity
 There will be significant PR created by the foundation
 This will create BUZZ
 An excellent opportunity to launch yourself publicly as packages
(through on-line media, being at events, etc.)
 By doing this you are helping yourself AND the foundation

 Many of the existing negative sentiments will go away, e.g.
 But Symbian is not REALLY open source
 Not everybody can see the code
 Symbian is a closed “club”

 Opportunities to ...
 Evangelize your technology (and yourself)
 Advertise your NEEDS
 And ultimately to recruit contributors

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EPLing: Stuff you MUST not forget

 As part of preparing for the EPL...
 Make sure your landing page & wiki stays usable
 Links to code etc may break!
 Make sure you have committers , sign them up to mailing lists,
introduce them, etc.
 AND you can delegate to them
 The code is correct (e.g. verify Quality spreadsheet)

 REMEMBER:
Lack of information = Not being present
= No contributions
Wrong information = bad first impression
= impacts interaction
Lack of responsiveness = bad first impression
= impacts interaction

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Welcome!
Homework

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