UKOLN Institutional Web Management Workshop 2004:
Being Open Source

Workshop Session B7: "Being Open Source"

This page provides details for the workshop session on "Being Open Source".

Being Open Source
Sebastian Rahtz and Randy Metcalfe, OSS Watch, University of Oxford
This workshop session will provide practical guidance on how to set up projects using open source methodologies. What are Sourceforge and CVS? How do I put a licence on my software? How do I involve a community? How does a distributed set of developers work? How do you document the work? How do you keep control, or not?
Learning Outcomes:
Not yet available
Room Requirements:
Will be using PDF or HTML and CSS for presentatons, and not MS PowerPoint.
This session took place from 16:00-17:30 on Wednesday 28th July 2004.
Contact Details
Sebastian Rahtz
University of Oxford
13 Banbury Road
Email: sebastian.rahtz AT


Session Notes

This workshop concentrated on the notion of community that is often associated with open source software. What sort of community (or communities) is it? How does one participate in it? And more important how do you generate and sustain a community around your own open source project? It's not easy, and no two projects need follow the same path.

Open Source Fundamentals

The workshop began with Randy Metcalfe giving an overview of some open source fundamentals, many of which were covered in Sebastian Rahtz' plenary talk Beyond Free Beer.

Workshop participants contributed freely to discussion of these initial fundamentals before moving on to some of the specifics of community building.

Building Communities

In response to a series of provoking questions participants volunteered a range of characteristics that may individually or collectively be required for building a community around an open source project. Key, here, was the role of the project leader. The level of commitment, responsiveness, vision and personableness shown by the leader(s) of the project could have tremendous impact upon a project's success. This is perhaps even more important than the communicative tools deployed to support community interaction (yes, even wikis!).

Questions considered in this section of the workshop:

Model Communities

Sebastian then picked up the thread and explored a range of open source communities each with a different take on developing and sustaining their community.

We considered:

Final Thoughts

All thanks to the participants in the workshop for their useful input and suggestions. Please feel free to add your own thoughts and corrections to the above account. Or email OSS Watch at the address <>

Randy Metcalfe and Sebastian Rahtz

Last modified: 13th July 2004