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Sustainability in F/OSS: developers as a non-renewable resource

Speaker(s) : Graham Percival
Language : English Level : Newbie Nature : Conference
Date : Friday 9 July 2010 Schedule : 15h00 Duration : 60 minutes
Place: LaBRI - Salle 076
Transversal topics: In english


The time and energy which developers spend on open-source projects is not an infinite resource.  Developer effort can stall due to external demands on their time (such as family, career, or health), but also due to internal factors (such as a loss of motivation or interest).  Long-term projects (5+ years old) should try to engage in sustaindable development practices.  How can we retain developer interest?  How can we prepare for the inevitable loss of developers?  How can we train the next generation of developers?

This talk draws upon experiences from GNU/LilyPond (a 14-year old sheet music typesetter), but makes general suggestions (and warnings!) for users, developers, and project leaders.


Graham Percival began writing documentation for GNU/LilyPond in 2003. In 2007, he began the year-long LilyPond Grand Documentation Project, which involved over 20 people learning how to write documentation for LilyPond.  He then became Release Manager for LilyPond, and began organizing other aspects of the project.  Along the way, he has written documentation for Marsyas and Strasheela.

Graham has degrees in Philosophy, Music, and Computer Science, and is currently a PhD candidate in Electronics & Electrical Engineering at the University of Glasgow.