David A. Wheeler's Blog

Thu, 30 Jul 2020

FOSS Contributor Survey

If you contribute to Free/Open Source Software, please take the FOSS Contributor Survey!

This survey is a collaboration between the Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard. Some of the questions are specific to those who write software; if you contribute, but don’t write software, just skip those questions. The goal is to get a better understanding about its development so that we can best work out how to improve its security and sustainability.

Also: please tell others who develop this software about the survey!

One interesting complication about this survey is that it’s difficult to get the word out about such a general survey. People talk about the “open source software community”, but in practice there isn’t one such community, there are many communities with some overlap. I don’t want to spam people who have never expressed any interest in information like this.

I’m currently talking with some folks in the Linux Foundatinon leadership about sending a one-time email only to developers who are already signed up for Linux Foundation mailing lists that are focused on developing open source software. We don’t want to spam people, but I think it’s reasonable to believe that people on those mailing lists are interestd in information related to the development of open source software. One problem with sending to multiple mailing lists is that we don’t want to annoy people by having them receive multiple copies, so we want to work out a way so an individual only gets one copy.

I’ve never done this before, and I hate spam myself. So I’m first checking with Linux Foundation leaders and program managers to see if they think this is reasonable. I think it is, but it’s easy to justify anything to yourself, so I’m waiting to hear from others about what they think.

So getting back to the point - if you contribute to Free/Open Source Software, please take the FOSS Contributor Survey!

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