More on Codeplex: Community Self-Policing

by Dustin Puryear

A project was recently removed from Codeplex because it was not offering the source code. The project, Sandcastle, apparently violated Microsoft’s “Open Source policy”. Thus, Microsoft removed the project.

That’s cool and all, but that is not what is really of note. The big news item here is that “A number of people have alerted me in the last 24 hours that a Microsoft project called Sandcastle, located on Codeplex, used the Ms-PL and called itself “open source” yet never posted the source code.”

That’s notable.

The moral of the story here is not that Microsoft removed an offending non-open source project from Codeplex, but that members of the community noticed and their comments made a difference.

And that, to me, is one of the big wins about open source and collaborative efforts that [try] to build communities: The community can self-police.

If Microsoft, IBM, or any company, no matter how big, tries to police this type of community, it will not work. The problem? There just is not enough money put into these online communities/efforts to enable them to review every piece of software. Instead, the community that is being built around the effort must do the job.