The end of this week will be the fourth week of detailing progress for Seneca here on my blog. I must admit that I have been indeed humbled by the experience of attempting to apply the open source development model to research and analysis. It has been a truly challenging and interesting experiment (not that it is by any means over). I did not start doing this with any expectations nor time windows for when I thought event A or event B should happen. So in terms of my progress I am simply satisfied to have accomplished the little bit that I have so far.
I have been surprised at how long it has taken me to get members to join the project. I figured I would be able to at least attract somewhere in the low teens by one month in, but I guess I was off the mark. Most of the responses have been along the lines of "great idea...tell me how it turns out." Which is cool, but not exactly what I wanted to hear. As I'm finding out its one thing to release a paper under an open license and its another to corral folks together and get them to contribute to writing a paper collectively.
However, my struggles and have got me thinking about a new avenue that I can explore using the experiences that I am absorbing during this process. Despite the fact that I haven't finished the project (I've barely started it), I am beginning to become convinced that organic, open team building is the wave of the future. It may sound too "grassroots" or "hippy" but I am becoming convinced that by making a concerted effort to create an open community based process from the onset of a project is the most natural way to maximize potential and available resources.
By this I mean, open processes have their application even for projects that are not shared outside the boundaries of an organization. It may sound premature to make such a statement, as the project is still in a launch stage, but I have noticed the effect of seeking to involve as many other knowledgeable individuals coupled with the freedom of knowing there isn't anything to hide because everything is going to be seen by anyone who wants to see it.
Right now I think it is important to continue to concentrate on how we can get the word out about the project so as to increase the number of people in general who know about it. I have signed up for an account at SourceForge.net so I can set up a place holder page there that forwards to the original java.net project. I may even consider duplicating the project contents at the SourceForge.net site just so I can have two point of references. I think what might be hurting the project is lack of general appeal. I mean there are quite a few individuals who understand Service Oriented Architectures, but only a small percentage actually are willing and/or interested in contributing to an open paper for the sake of doing so.
Plus, this is a relatively new concept so I am thinking that there are even fewer people who understand the benefits of exploring an idea like this. It takes persons who have a solid grasp of open source community development and the desire to volunteer. Although I never predicted/wanted any fame or fortune from doing this, I did intend that more people would just sign up out of curiosity and start banging away. Oh well, I still think there is potential for a good sized community to grow around Seneca and I'm going to continue to do my part to bring that potentiality into reality...