My friend and colleague Sarah Allen has a nice little essay on her blog Ultrasaurus about what it was like to be part of a project that took a closed-source platform (“Laszlo Presentation Server”) and made it open (OpenLaszlo).
Like Sarah, I found that changing to the “open” way of doing software development took a little getting used to. One of the most profound, and yet most mundane differences is how you use email. Before we went open, if I had a technical question for, say, Tucker, I would send him an email; perhaps I would copy a few other interested parties.
Now, however, if I have technical question for Tucker, I send it to him and copy the OpenLaszlo Developer’s list or the OpenLaszlo User’s list. Which means that hundreds of people, at least, may be reading my messages. Similarly, all development work (including my baliwick, the documentation) is driven by tasks and bugs listed in the OpenLaszlo JIRA database. All of our code, communication, and planning, is in the open.
Sometimes this does make one feel a little awkward– like when you have to ask a question that you think you should know the answer to, and are embarrassed. But the “upside” is tremendous, as you often get helpful answers from people you’ve never heard of, in far off places, who are part of the OpenLaszlo community.