Maintaining Open Source While Maintaining Your Sanity

Maintaining open source projects can be hard. Between the haters, noobs and entitled masses it can be tough to stay motivated. Learn from my experience how to maintain your sanity along with your code. I'll give some tips and tricks for structuring your project, fostering a positive attitude, growing your community and dealing with guilty feelings when you can't keep up with all the noise.

Maintaining open source projects can be hard. Successful open source projects can take up a lot of your time and often you end up feeling guilty because you feel you are not spending enough time working on it. You are not alone!

I’ve been an open source contributor for a very long time and a core maintainer of Apache Cordova for over 8 years. I’ve learned a number of things that can help you stay on top of your project without the guilty feelings.

First we will go over the basic setup of an open source project and talk about the importance of files you see in a lot of repositories like README, CONTRIBUTING and LICENSE. Then we will go over how to effectively triage issues and how an issue template can help you with that. We’ll also discuss how to turn contributors of your project into maintainers as well as the edict around pull requests.

Finally we’ll discuss how it is more difficult to deal with people than with code and the importance of setting boundaries.

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The audience should learn how to interact better with open source maintainers. Maintainers of open source projects will learn techniques in order to make their lives less stressful.


Simon MacDonald

Simon has over twenty years of development experience and has worked on a variety of projects including object oriented databases, police communication systems, speech recognition and unified messaging. His current focus is contributing to the open source PhoneGap project to enable developers to create cross platform mobile applications using Web technologies. Simon’s been building web applications since the days they were written using shell scripts and he still has nightmares about those dark days.