Community Customers

Community Customers

Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-999-1.ch039
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This chapter discusses the role of the project/product community in the open source product life cycle. It outlines how a community-driven approach affects not only the development process, but also (and more importantly) the marketing/sales process, the deployment, the operation, and in general the resulting software product. Participation in the community is essential for any organization using the product, leading to the concept of a community customer. Specific community participation guidelines are given to organizations and individuals who deploy and use open source software, further develop it, or offer lifetime services on the product.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Free Rider: An individual or organisation who acquires an open source product and actively uses it, without donating experiences or development results back to the community, but while still using the community resources.

Open Source Community Customer Relationship Management: Task/process of actively following, facilitating, and fostering the community customers, so that they keep coming back to the community for help, and hopefully donate contributions to the community in return. CCRM may be outsourced to an organisation which does not itself participate in the community and may ask a fee for the work.

Development (Open Source): The act of writing program code to extend the functionality of an (open source) product. Explicitly limited to code writing to distinguish it from the many other productive activities around an open source product (reviewing, translations, packaging, end-user help, documentation writing, marketing, process management ...) which typically are not done by developers but also not by typical users.

Community Customer: An individual or organisation who wants to deploy an open source product, without having a direct aim to further develop the product, and who actively engages or instigates engagement in community participation to assure future suitability of the product for one’s own purposes.

Open Source Project: Any group of people developing or deploying software common to the group and providing their development results and usage experiences to the public under an open source license.

Open Source Community: In this chapter the same as open source project, but community is better suitable, as it has more people semantics than project.

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