Community development: all communities are not the same

Reading the Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) I happened to read “Care and feeding open source programmers” an article about the “HandBrake manifesto“, a post defining what Open Source is for his author.

Open source is:

  • A means to encourage software innovation among diverse groups of programmers
  • A policy of open inspection and analysis of source code, both to educate and provide a means for constructive criticism
  • A means by which programmers can “scratch their itch” for mental stimulation while at the same time solving computing problems that are frequently applicable even to non-technical users
  • Free, both intellectually and in terms of cost

Open source is not:

  • A way to get commercial-quality support at no charge
  • A free-for-all forum to ask for pie-in-the-sky software features and expect them to be implemented as requested and with no delay
  • An invitation to harass and otherwise frustrate a small and dedicated development staff because they didn’t do what you wanted