Choose a good license and manage well the community

Some of the things that Mike Tienman said in this interview with I could have said myself.

I have come to believe that a license alone is neither a secret to success nor an absolution of sin.

Exactly: choosing a free license is a moral choice but that alone won’t secure neither commercial success nor any other success of the project.

“It’s a lot easier to bring tools to the community than it is to bring community to the tools,” Tiemann said. “I think that the importance of community cannot be overestimated.”

How can I agree more? My job as community manager is to facilitate the community on the path to such tools.

“I do believe that licensing is a key component that underpins a successful community effort,” Tiemann said. “The license, in a sense, dictates how the community can or should be expected to behave.”

Basically, you need to choose a free software license and to manage the community in order to enable success.Β  Do you see why I could have said all this myself?

via LinuxPlanet – Interviews – What Matters to Open Source: Licensing or Community? – More to FOSS Than Licenses.




  1. Choosing a free license maybe a moral choice, but programs are released under free licenses for many reasons.

    People join communities for different reasons, possibly different from the author’s one. In Bob Young wording: “a community is just a group of people that share a common interest – they don’t have to like each other”. And beyond license’s choice the community governance model is of great importance too.

    All in all the license is just an element of the constitution, and as you pointed out tools – along with rights – can make the difference.

  2. @roberto: I agree that the governance model is one of the tools to create a community. But, whatever is the reason to release software under a free license, moral choice should be one πŸ™‚ It’s like deciding not to pollute the waters when starting any business.