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Build a FLOSS community from scratch? Ways of building open source projects and pitfalls to avoid.

Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) is becoming more and more present in the IT landscape changing drastically the rules of the game (technical and business). However, many people underestimate the importance of communities over code: communities could become a booster for those OSS pieces of code if they are conducted properly. Derived from Stan Garfield and Richard McDermott academic researches on communities, this article presents an approach to build and sustain communities in the FLOSS area. The method, based on the five main steps described in the article, has been assessed on two European projects. Results are reviewed and we believe that transparency, trust, people commitment are keys that pave the way to success. Launching a community and developing it successfully is not “I code, I publish, I exist’ but relies on a structured approach. By presenting such a method, we hope to foster anyone who would like to launch a community to throw himself into the adventure in a more productive manner.

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