Questions to Answer Before You Open-source Your Code

Monday Dec 27th 2010 by Keith Vance
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Open-sourcing a project doesn't have to be difficult, but before doing so, Matthew Helmke thinks you should answer these questions.

Matthew Helmke is the author of Ubuntu Unleashed and The Official Ubuntu Book. He's also working on a software project that's transitioning from closed source to open source. To help others do the same, Helmke wrote an article detailing the questions that should be asked and answered before going through the process of open-sourcing code.

"Choosing to release program code that has been developed in a closed environment does not need to be difficult," Helmke said, "but to be successful, some thought and planning are required. To give your project the greatest opportunity to be noticed and considered, you want to do more than post the code on a random Web page and hope for the best."

He starts with an obvious, but important question, "Why is the code being released?" From that philosophical question, Helmke says a project needs to decide which license to choose, who will own the code and what will be allowed to be done with the source code.


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