What Makes Open Source Projects Work

A presentation on the tools, techniques and practices that open source projects use to deliver high-quality products.


Linux, Apache, Gimp, KDE, Perl . . . you know that there are a lot of successful open source projects. You might even work on one in your spare time. These projects are known for their high quality products. Yet most of them do it with a geographically distributed, all-volunteer work force -- conditions that would sink most corporate projects. So what's the big difference between these projects and the ones you get paid to do? The difference is that in most corporate projects, the demands for quality are imposed by the customer or management. In the open source world, the programmers themselves demand quality... and they take steps to make sure they get it. This presentation will explore several of the most effective practices that open source project teams use in order to achieve that goal.

This presentation was first given at the Software Development Best Practices India 2007 conference:


Download the presentation: Stellman - open source.ppt

NOTE: There are additional comments in the "Notes" section of the slides. Without them, the presentation looks like a bunch of screenshots without any explanation! (Which is fine for presenting to an audience, but which makes it a little difficult to understand on its own.)


This presentation is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Copyright © 2007 Stellman & Greene Consulting, LLC.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2, or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.

Contact Information

If you have questions, comments, or corrections, please contact info@stellman-greene.com.

Revision history

  • 28-Mar-2007
    Updated "Head First PMP" cover (link)

  • 10-Jan-2007
    Initial version (link)