Building Community Around a Software Package


It takes an active community of users and developers to sustain a software project for the long-term. Each community is made up of individuals (and organizations) with their own needs. What does it take to build and sustain a community around a software project?

This session is intended to share experiences and start discussion on ways that software development and use communities can be built and sustained.


Building community --

Three use cases in developing and sustaining a community of software --

#Ethan Davis - Unidata

Unidata history- formed by atmospheric science research and education community.... help gain access to real time weather data and tools to manage, analyze and visualize data.

- build / provide tools for working with data
- support community in use of those tools
- track technology / innovation and feedback that info to community

What seems to work

- Facilitate communication
- Provide ways to give back to the community
- e.g. governing committees

- Support is provided by developers (they are seen as part of community)


- Takes away from time to develop software
- doesn't scale well
- focus on earth science community rather than software community

Move to Github 1-2 years ago. If you look at network graph, very active participation from community

Bug reporting
2 ways
- support pages for each package (Jira)
- and mailing list for each package (lots of reporting happens on email.)


Building community around the field catalog software.

- redeveloping software for same campaigns with different people, and same people on different campaigns

Field datalog
- web-based service
- to record project documentation


501-3-c status... but started out as distributed oceanographic data systems

Project strategies
- leverage existing tech
- establish dap as a standard
- open source
- hold workshops

Client side was side OPenDap knew least about...

(license is LGPL)

Looked at protocol as a product.

Draws a difference been sustaining
- software - a specific package
- - organization

Fulker - Sustainbility is about functionality

Books mentioned by James Howison:
- The art of Community -
- Buzzing Communities -

Building Community Around a Software Package; Summer Meeting 2014. ESIP Commons , April 2014