Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Open Source Marketing? Ask Questions

What's the best way to "market" an open source project? I think the best way is to start with a question.

A lot of programmers want more people to know about their projects, but don't want to be the spammy douchebag who goes on a mailing list to say, "hey everybody, my project is better than yours, suck my dick! click here." In open source circles, a mailing list post or blog post like "my project is t3h awesumz" may violate social norms or constitute a faux pas.

If you want to promote your work in a context like that, here's the best way: use your project to pose a question about the language or the framework it runs in. Compare code in your project to code in another project with similar aims, and explain why you went with the alternate approach. If you want to cause trouble for yourself, after explaining why you went with the alternate approach, go into lengthy detail about the personality problems of the developers behind the other project. If you want a more peaceful experience, explain why you think the other approach is good too.