I know of lots of software that is open-source. For at least some of it, someone, somewhere must have written the first version alone.

How does good open-source software become well known? I'm most interested in the first steps. How does software written by one person gain its first new contributors?

I'm looking for practical advise. I've started a project here, called aodbm. What steps can I take to give it the best possible start?


From experience, the vast majority of open source projects are one person labour of loves. With the number of projects out there getting useful contributions on a regular basis is virtually impossible. Looking at your project, it's fairly niche too. Your best bet with niche stuff is to look at some academic input, i.e. try to make it a good project for a CS students final year project, or similar.


Read this book: Producing Open Source Software (it is free for download).

It explains in detail how to manage a project and its community and how to (try to) make it successful.

  • Great link, thanks! This book goes well beyond just software and incorporates a number of really useful management techniques that can be applies elsewhere. – Spike Jan 10 '12 at 16:17

I think that, for an open source success, you have to :
1/ Have a clear and interesting subject (for a lot of people)
2/ Give quickly sources with running examples and doc. Remark : it is better to have a low functions running software than a full functions buggy software !
3/ Keep an eye on the user's remarks.

If I look your project :
1/ the subject is not clear.
2/ no files, no doc.

  • There's documentation in the README file. There's no download because I don't want to release code that not compatible with future versions. What's not clear about the subject? – dan_waterworth Mar 14 '11 at 10:51

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