What makes an open source project successful?

I love the idea of open source. I understand its benefits, and I want to be part of it. But I don't fully understand it. So I ended up buying this book: "The Cathedral & the Bazaar" with the hope to learn the pros and cons of open source.

This book is amazing. I ended up reading about 100 pages in one sitting. I don't even think I blinked all throughout. If you ever find yourself wanting to know about the open source movement and its history, you should get this book.

I want to share with you the one non-obvious reason that makes an open source project successful. That is:

To have a successful open source project, you must have good people and communication skills.

I was under the impression that to lead an open source project; you only needed to have good technical skills. And even though that helps, it is not enough. The success of your project depends on your social skills.


Because you are not only developing a product. You are also cultivating a community. And to do that, you need to be likable. You need to attract people, interest them in your project and keep them happy with what they are doing. In the open source community, your EQ is as important as your IQ.

Quoting the author:

To make a bazaar model work (open source project), it helps enormously if you have at least a little skill at charming people.

I would have never thought about that, but it makes total sense.

Hope this post was helpful.

Harold Serrano

Computer Graphics Enthusiast. Currently developing a 3D Game Engine.