On Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 11:55:30AM -0700, Landon Blake wrote:
> Is OpenJUMP the only community with these open source lurkers? 


> How many of these companies do you think there are? (I'm not talking about
> one guy who downloads an open source app and uses it. I'm talking about
> actual companies with more than one employee.)

The majority. I figure it's approximately equal to the iceberg effect:
Unless you are a consultant advertising your services far and wide, my
guess is that for every one company you see participating openly in an
Open Source project, there are probably about 9 that are using the
software without you having any clue.

> Why don't they get more involved? 

 * No need: When Open Source solves the problem, you don't need to get
 * No time: We'd love to participate more, but we've got our own
   problems to solve -- and they don't match those of the community.
 * No understanding: We download this software just like all of our
   other software. What's a mailing list?
 * Not enough encouragement. Gtting started in an open source project
   can be a daunting task even for the well-educated in the open source
   world; for those who aren't, it's an order of magnitude more

> Are they embarrassed? Do they not want
> their competition to find out about the open source program they are
> benefiting from? Are they violating the terms of the license and don't
> want to get busted? 

I think these are generally unlikely.

> Do they not understand that their involvement is a
> key part of the program's survival?

It is likely they do not, in my opinoin; and in this, they may well be
right. The software existed before they started using it; it is likely
it will exist in some form afterwards as well.

> This has become an important question for me recently as the active
> development of OpenJUMP has slowed. We don't have any organizations
> actively participating in development. (Well, maybe one or two, but they
> have been quiet lately.) I'm the only one working on serious
> improvements or changes, and not just bug fixes. I would really like to
> reach out to these lurkers to get them more involved. Ultimately, the
> survival of the project may depend on it.

See also: OpenLayers.

Christopher Schmidt
Web Developer
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