The Perils and Pitfalls of Young Eclipse Projects

By Doug Gaff

A wise Eclipse Director of Open Source Process once told me, "Don’t incubate too many projects at once, it’s very difficult."  As he incubates a ridiculous number of them himself, I guess he speaks from experience.  Lately I’ve been thinking about the many young projects in DSDP and what we are currently struggling with.


Before all you old-timers say "duh", let’s pause for a moment and define this,
because you, too, may be guilty. Transparency means that anyone and
everyone who’s developing, observing, or using your project can see
what’s going on at all times. This requires communication on steroids. I’ll bet that very few projects in Eclipse have truly mastered transparency.
Some examples: Did you have a hall conversation with a colleague on the
project? Better create a bugzilla for that work item you discussed. Did
you have a phone call with some developers? Better put those notes on
the Wiki. Are you emailing colleagues outside of the dev lists? Tsk,
tsk. How current is that project plan or the website in general? Did
you commit something that others on the project had no idea you were
even working on? What, no bugzilla entry or technical discussion with
the group? Transparency separates the successful Eclipse projects from
the ones that will eventually die. For small projects with small staff
that are new to this mindset, it’s a steep learning curve.

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