How the FreeBSD Project’s Processes Help Companies Build Products01/01/2010
George Neville-Neil has written the lead article for the January issue of the Open Source Business Resource (OSBR) and the FreeBSD Foundation is the sponsor for this month’s issue. The entire issue is available as a PDF and George’s article is also available in HTML. You are welcome to host/translate a copy of the PDF or article elsewhere as long as you attribute George as the author and the OSBR as the original publication source.
From the article’s abstract:
The processes that open source projects use to produce new work and maintain the quality of their code base is a subject that comes up infrequently in discussions of open source. One reason for this is that engineers and programmers are usually loathe to deal with issues that are not directly related to the piece of code or technology that they are working on.
Successful businesses know that good processes lead to continued success. The attributes that attract a business to an open source project are stability, reliability, and longevity. Stability gives a business the confidence to invest time into developing products on the project’s platform, safe in the knowledge that the next incremental step in development won’t be torpedoed by some unforeseen change. Reliability is often not associated with open source and many projects are perceived as being too cutting edge for a business to build upon. Longevity is of value as many businesses are inherently conservative in their approaches, attempting to reduce the risks of adopting any technique or technology. One way to reduce risk is to work with an open source project that has a proven track record of delivering quality products, on schedule.
This article attempts to dispel the myth of the perceived tension between a formally run business and the apparently less formally run open source projects with which a business interacts. We describe how one particular open source project has developed processes which provide its users, customers, and partners with a product that is stable, reliable, and long lived.