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The Bookshelf: Building Open Communities

One of my big interests is building and analyzing communities, especially in the open source space. I’ve learned a lot from my experience in the Gentoo Linux and Eclipse communities and take joy in the experience. There are so many interesting topics within community building from effective communication mechanisms to development processes to governance. I see a future where a lot of software is developed in the open and building a community around that will be vital to the success of that piece of software. As I was writing this post, Microsoft just announced that they are open sourcing the .NET micro framework and attempting to build a open community around the technology…

Microsoft is also in the process of forming a community of interested and involved members to help shape the future direction of the product. There will be a core technology team that is composed of Microsoft and external partners, and people will be encouraged to propose projects, which will be vetted before they are accepted…. The site will also support people building extensions that exist alongside the platform rather than being integrated into it…

You know when Microsoft is releasing stuff under the Apache 2.0 license and attempting to build communities there’s a shift in the industry happening. Good for them!

Ok, on to the point of this post now. My reading list went empty recently and I needed to fill it with some interesting books. In particular, I was looking for books related to open source and community building. The good news is that I found a couple of interesting books, the bad news is that I wish there were more books on these topics. I’ve been devouring the Art of Community book by Jono Bacon (Ubuntu’s Community Manager).

It’s a fascinating book which outlines some of the aspects of community building and share’s many of Jono’s experiences in developing the Ubuntu community. A lot of the things he discusses can be mapped to what is going on within the Eclipse community. Jono’s coverage of the importance of meritocracy and governance pleases me.

Anyone else have a chance to read the book yet?

Another book that I’m looking to devour is the Groundswell by a couple of Forrester Research’s analysts.

I’m always a fan of case studies around social technology and how it can impact your business. My favorite recent example is the United Breaks Guitars debacle… how much heartache did that cost United? I’ll let people know what I think of Groundswell when I finish it.

Anyone else reading anything good around open source of community building lately? Any recommendations?