I have just accepted the second developer into an open source project. I'm not going to say which it is, for obvious reasons (read the rest of this question.)

The project is a C# / .NET projectl

A while ago I contacted JetBrains, authors of ReSharper, dotCover, and TeamCity.

Since I am the leader of the open source project, I got "open source" licenses for ReSharper, dotCover, and TeamCity.

The important part is that the licenses I got for the project, for those products, are for all members of my project, not just me.

The question is this:

  • When advertising that the project requires more people (it does), should I mention the licenses involved?

On one had, I feel that mentioning the licenses might make people not really interested in the project apply for it, because they would get those licenses, and thus be people more interested in the licenses than the project, i.e. "noise".

On the other hand, the licenses could be a bonus, an ... "upshot" ... and thus might make more people interested in my project, in other words I might attract people that could be a bonus to the project, that weren't aware of it before.


Should I advertise the licenses involved?

Or not?

Edit: Ok, it's late at night (in my small corner of the world) and having re-read my question, le me make it clear what my question really is about:

Does anyone have any experience, or knowledge, or barring that, thoughts, about what difference it would make if I openly posted that becoming a member of my project would give them licenses for products X and Y, as opposed to not mentioning it until they're already members?

  • In my mind this sort of looks like a "are you interested in me, or my money" type of question. Apologies for this but I don't know of any other place to turn for this. I will accept it if the question is closed for any reason. Jul 20, 2011 at 0:14
  • I'm well aware that the "where clause", if you can call it that, will match a very small number of people/projects. If you feel that this question is too localized, not constructive, or otherwise not fitting for programmers.stackexchange.com, please just leave a comment (feel free to flag it as well of course.) Jul 20, 2011 at 0:54
  • -1: This is a silly question. The "member of my project would give them licenses for" is meaningless. They can get licenses without being a member of the project. Why ask?
    – S.Lott
    Jul 20, 2011 at 2:50

2 Answers 2


I think that an important phase of becoming a contributor in an open-source project is being, actually, an active contributor.

That is, you should only grant the logistical status of contributor to people you actually trust; who has offered pull requests, participated in the project's mailing list, etc.

Those tools are not an absolute requisite to contributing to your project. They may enhance your workflow, but not having a licence should not stop them from contributing to your project.

So to answer your question:

  • Yes, you will receive more requests. People like free things, even if they don't really need it.
  • But at the same time: No, the people who is going to participate in your project are going to do so because they need you project to be successful - they may need it for work, for example. So giving licences for free is not going to give you more good contributors. They come to your project for a different reason.

My suggestions:

  • Don't state that you give such licences.
  • Set as recognised contributors – with commit rights and such – only to people who you see contributing, not just talking about contributing.
  • I'm two minds about this. To be honest, I have very particular thoughts and opinions about the code that goes into "my" project. I realized that "my" project will stop being "my" project once I start accept more people into it, but it is still in some regard my baby. As such, I will try to ensure that all code that goes into the project follow some kind of guidelines. ReSharper can and will help with that, although it is not the be-all stopgap to prevent bad code from entering it. As such, the ReSharper license is not just a bonus, it could be construed as a kind of requirement. Jul 20, 2011 at 0:57
  • Let me clarify that. I have already committed to the source code repository ReSharper 6 configuration files that will help ensure at least some common formatting of various types of code. I have yet to see the actual effect of this in regards to that other person just joining, but I'm hoping it will help. In other words, having ReSharper might be a bonus to my project, not just to the person joining the project. But no, I agree, it is not an absolute requirement. Jul 20, 2011 at 0:58
  • @Some: Check my edit. I elaborate a bit more and actually answer your question :)
    – Nerian
    Jul 20, 2011 at 1:02
  • Thanks, your answer, and comment, has given me a lot, and mostly in line with what I already considered, to think about. I have accepted your answer, but unfortunately due to my anonymous account, I cannot upvote any of the answers here. Jul 20, 2011 at 1:05

Yes. Open Source means Open Kimono. Don't hide stuff from your peers, or potential peers.

  • So you're saying that in the description of my project, I should mention that that "if you become a developer of this project you will get licenses for X, Y, Z, ..."? You're not concerned about people joining for the licenses, not the project? To be honest, if people join, and never commit any changes, they're not doing any harm (to my project) and thus... should I care? What are your thoughts on this? Jul 20, 2011 at 0:08
  • Oh man you're in a world of hurt. You've created dependencies that are hard to overcome... Now, see, you can't even mention your project. In any case, yes, I would mention it. To be honest, if someone is on your project, get the license, and does not contribute, boot them off the project. They will be in violation of licenses. Jul 20, 2011 at 0:25
  • And you do care because ReSharper, dotCover, and TeamCity care and you have a relationship with them. Jul 20, 2011 at 0:26
  • I only care about my project. I am very grateful to Jetbrains for contributing these licenses, but if I have to choose between having to pay for a license for ReSharper or having "noisy members" on my project, I would pick paying as the lesser evil. I'm just concerned that posting that the project has these licenses will attract not-so-optimal members. In fact, let me edit my question to make this clear. Jul 20, 2011 at 0:50

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