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last modified March 9, 2008 by lucy

How do open source developers find projects? What criteria do they use to determine what to work on? What are the goals, powers and responsibilities of the open source communities they are involved in? What, if anything, could be done to improve their effectiveness?  


The goal of this project is to help open source developers do more good. This particular wiki is for investigating current concerns and goals of the community. 

Feel free to join this project, modify this page and add additional ones as you see fit.

Please spread this URL to other developers. The more feedback the better.  


Questions - Join the team and edit this page to integrate your answers

  • What tools or interactions have you found helpful for finding out about existing open source projects?
  • Where or how do you find out about the latest or coolest tools and techniques? (eg, word of mouth, blogs, social network, google, web surfing/exploration)
update: check out activism.reddit.com  !!! help build this community !!!
word of mouth
  • How often are you looking for existing open source projects? (eg, to use their tool, place another project in context, learn from their implementation, become a contributor)  New tools and techniques?
  • What makes open source development fun or worthwhile?
  • What could make open source development more effective? (either in general or towards a specific aim, eg social good, activism)
time-to-complete: project management hosters, eg Unfuddle, Assembla, OpenPlans versus servers, eg linode, ec2, homegrown
  • What should the goals be for an open source community?
  • What tools would facilitate these goals?


  • Are you part of any existing open source developer communities or social networks? How could these be improved?
  • Other thoughts?

    Potential Proposals and Goals


    All open source project homepages have a stamp (small graphic) that links back to a central community site. When someone investigates a project, he or she can easily link in to the larger network.


    Collectively determine some open source guidelines or principles. These might consider licensing, sustainability.


    Trade project tips and suggestions, including tool and process recommendations.

    Social Network 



    Project indexing to help developers:

    • identify projects to work on
    • identify the space of existing projects before starting a new one
    • identify projects to use (indexing plus reviews/ratings/rankings)

    This could be low cost-- encourage project developers to add their own projects to a central index.

    This could potentially be automated using a web crawler and guided-navigation-esque front-end.

    Pie-in-the-sky: use MOSS to automatically cluster similar code, which may correlate to similar function. Thus, easily find all parsers versus renders, or easily find all type A parsers versus type B parsers. Translate all dynamic languages to common language in order to be language-independent.

    Existing tools:


    Maximize effectiveness without creating a lot of work for developers. Many are volunteering limited free time.