An excerpt from Matt Jadud’s latest post:
“Perhaps I’m wrong in this—gregdek or another POSSE participant will correct me if I am—but digging in and playing in the sandbox matters. And if I am going to do that, it is going to take time to get involved, and I will want to sustain that activity over the coming 3-5 years at the least. Any project I do on that timeframe, that absorbs a significant amount of my energies, needs to be acknowledged by my institution as having value. It is true that I could just contribute. I could continue to teach without integrating open source, and do my research on things completely unrelated. I can strive to be an excellent husband and father, and … stop sleeping and eating. Ultimately, for me to take part in this, I suspect it must count towards my professional development at the College in a meaningful way.”
No, Matt, you’re not wrong at all. Chris and Dave have been so successful precisely because they have become enmeshed in their communities as you describe.
Now, I happen to know that you’ve got research going on that lends itself really well to community work. If you can derive value by building community around *your* project — and if the lessons you learn at POSSE and in subsequent participation in large projects are the basis of that value — then you’ve got your sales pitch built in.
That’s the thing: for professors to be able to take the time required to build competencies in open source development, we must arm the professors with persuasive arguments. I’m hoping that POSSE will be a big piece of that puzzle.