Open Source Project Startup for Dummy Administrators?

by Russell Miles

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First, a bit of background .... recently I started up an open source project (aspectXML). After blogging with people on this network to ensure that I wasn't reinventing the wheel too much and that there was enough interest in the subject (a nerve wracking time to be sure when at every step you expect your idea to be unceremoniously shot down in flames) I decided to get things going so that I could explore the concept a bit further and provide a project for everyone to contribute to.

I thought I had overcome the worst when the idea survived the initial exposure and the concept was accepted and even enthused by a handful of great developers who wanted to get started straight away on the first proof of concept prototype. At least that's what I thought until I tried to put in place the tools and support services for the project itself ....

I hunted around different open source projects and came up with a small list of capabilities that a project would find essential in it's early days. I then went about configuring one of my own machines to run as the projects start-up server. Now, this is where things got complicated as I got snowed under with different configurations, dependencies, users, password and the overall mish-mash of applications that would provide the capabilities I was looking for.

After about a week of free-time tweaking and general anguish which had nothing to do with the actual project itself I got a reasonable suite up and running but I have to wonder how much easier this would have been if there was a single tool/service that could provide everything you needed to start up an open source project.

What I needed right up front was a product that came with a useful installer that simply configured a suite of open source project support tools. My apologies if this has already been done, and the idea does not seem that far removed from how communities such as work, but I wanted to get things running at first on my own machines and this proved a difficult process of setting up different applications that would have definitely benefited from a simple installer and single suite approach.

So, my challenge goes out to everyone to share their own experiences in getting an open source project off the ground, technically speaking. Are there tools out there that make this process much easier, and perhaps ones that I could take advantage of by moving my own open source project to? Also what experiences have people had with the different community projects?

My own experience was painful at first but is now extremely rewarding as I enjoy the collaborative and open atmosphere of the aspectXML development forum. However it would be great to make the whole start-up process that bit easier if we possibly can so that it is as easy as it should be for people who have the idea for an open source project to get it running and people involved as quickly and painlessly as possible.

I'd be interested in any experiences in getting an open source project up and running, especially if you have had a better time than I had and can recommend to everyone who might be doing the same thing in the future how this can be acheived as easily as possible.


2004-04-15 14:36:43
The tool you're looking for is RT Foundry
RT Foundry is being developed in Taiwan as part of the Open Foundry project, which is aimed at encouraging for FS/OSS development in Taiwan. The foundry is a SF-a-like, except using better technologies (RT for bug/request tracking, subversion for source control, etc.)

It's still in early-ish development, though you can see it in action at (the ugly look will be replaced, and I've seen some mockups of much prettier interfaces ;)

I'm hoping that one of the features of RT Foundry will be a "single project" install mode which would basically be a FS/OSS project setup in a box. Source control, mailing lists, bug/request tracking, news, wiki, etc.

2004-04-18 09:48:46
SoourceForge - Any user experiences out there with this one?
I've been looking into SourceForge since this blog posting and it looks pretty all encompassing. I was wondering if anyone would like to share any experiences with the SF suite of tools and support, either publicly here or direct via email?