Just thinking out loud
I was about to leave a comment for Jeremy telling him I would love to work on an OSS Project in the Microsoft Community, but that it seems a bit more difficult than it has to be to
- Find a project that could use the help – perhaps more than others
- Find projects with a need that matches my skills and/or interests
- Determine which projects really stand a chance of being successful and truly fill a need versus those that are just pet projects and/or will end up fading away.
Duplication of Effort
One of the things that I have noticed in the Microsoft OSS Community ( and this may not be unique to this community ) is the duplication of effort. This duplication of effort is no doubt slowing the overall progress of all projects, but it also makes it dang confusing and sometimes utterly impossible to know what niche a project fulfills, the amount of community support around it, how it overlaps and differentiates itself with similar projects, etc.
Where should I be spending my time if I volunteer and what should I be using for my projects?
- NUnit or MBUnit?
- StructureMap, Spring.NET, or Windsor?
- NHibernate, Gentle, IBatis, Retina?
- dasBlog or SubText?
- log4net or NLog?
The list goes on and I have only touched a few. It feels a shame to have what seems like competing projects when perhaps as a community we could pool our efforts and come out with a suite of tools / applications that are recommended in a certain context.
If we were to get more organized and channel our efforts on projects, OSS will advance quicker and meet more of our needs, and it will be easier to know as an end user just when to use them. We can better focus our blogging as a means of marketing and education of those tools as well as develop larger communities around the tools to offer support and assistance.
As a developer, I just want to use my time as wisely as possible, knowing that any time I volunteer to something I love and enjoy is being directed at a community supported project / need that will last overnight. As a user, I want to have a better understanding of what OSS I should be using in my current application.
I know there are no guarantees in the OSS community, but a little more organization / focus on our efforts may increase participation and fuel innovation and progress. I know I have about 1 day a week I could devote to a project, but where to spend it?
Like I said, really just thinking out loud as to what could be – right or wrong My goal is not to add red tape to the community but perhaps get more bang for the buck by focusing efforts a bit.