Today officially marks 10 years of Opensource.com as a publication sharing free and open source stories. Here is a look at where we've come from, what principles help us succeed, and where we're going.
As we celebrate 10 years of publishing, our focus is on the people from all over the globe, in various roles, from diverse backgrounds, who have helped us explore the multitude of ways in which open source can improve our lives—from technology and programming to farming and design, and so much more.
We are celebrating you because we've learned that growing this unique storytelling site demands that we do one thing better than all the rest: listen to and talk with our readers and writers.
Over the years, we’ve gotten better at it. We hold weekly meetings where we review how articles performed with readers from the week before and discuss why we think that’s so. We brainstorm and pitch new article ideas to our writer community every Monday. And we build and nurture close relationships with contributors who write on a regular basis.
As editors, we would have never thought our biggest responsibility would be community management and relationship building over copy editing and calendar planning.
In December, we closed out a decade of publishing by reaching a new, all-time record of over 2 million reads and over 1 million readers. For us, this validates and affirms what we've learned and where we place the highest priority: the value of our relationships with people amid a world swirling with data and metrics (something we also study and value).
*Thank you to Jono Bacon for his new book that introduced us to this fantastic term to describe building strong open source communities.
Opensource.com design throughout the years
The look of our homepage has changed a few times over the years. While we continue to iterate on our core design, we always prefer to keep it simple as opposed to making it more complex. So much of web content tries to draw your attention away from the article with flashing pop-ups and auto-playing videos. Opensource.com tries to connect readers with authors by giving them distraction-free space to learn from each other.
Check out these snapshots of the homepage in 2010, 2014, and 2016.
One little-known fact: A dandelion with seeds in the wind is our unofficial mascot for the site. Some editors say it represents what we do: providing a strong enough wind to share open source stories far and wide.
How we publish on Opensource.com
Our community has always published weekly content. Early on, it was closer to a few articles a week getting us to 20 or so a month. Most recently, we ebb between 80 and 100 articles per month. That growth, and the work we do to support our incredible authors, has been challenging and demanding in all the right ways. Our lean, mean editorial team—led by the dynamic Jeff Mackanic—has been iterating on strategies to support this massive amount of content and its helpful, relevant, and quality information as it relates to open source software, hardware, methodologies, and more.
We truly believe that openness is a better way to work, so we'd like to share some of our best practices:
- If anyone out there in the big, wide world has something to share about how they use open source, got started with open source, learned best practices to get a job done or operate in a community (and the list goes on...), they can share it with us. We have over 500 writers and writers-to-be who come to our door and generate thousands of published articles each year.
- Our editorial team reviews and responds to submissions, provides professional editorial services, nurtures each of our writer communities, and attends conferences and events around the world. Our goal is to care for the articles that come in to us, support and encourage our writers, and meet and know the open source communities that are important to our readers.
- The rest is all about learning and open lines of communication. What can we learn from the response we see from our readers? How can we best deliver the guides, tutorials, and stories we have to share with them? Who are the writers and writers-to-be coming to our door and what can we learn about them? How can we inspire and encourage them on their journeys?
Coming to and creating this model has been anything short of a straight line. Our one truth, our guiding light, has been to listen to our community—our readers, our writers, you.
Community is at the heart of Opensource.com
One measure offered for open source projects is not lines of code or popularity, but the idea that if you delete everything you have today you can recreate something again tomorrow. That measurement is one of trust in one's community of contributors. We are fortunate to have a huge and ever-growing community of Opensource.com. It includes our core editorial team, an influential group of Correspondents, hundreds of contributing authors, and millions of readers all from around the globe with diverse skills, backgrounds, and experiences.
Favorite Saturday of the year - the https://t.co/w1NPnyxzWL moderator call! So honored to partner with this wonderful group of open source advocates. @Don_Watkins @jeffmacharyas @monsterjavaguns @hilgspritch @JenWike @mbbroberg @jhibbets @opensourceway pic.twitter.com/MrNtcLpwCc
— Jeff Mackanic (@mackanic) July 20, 2019
"Each person who writes for us brings their own individual experiences and expertise to the table. When we launched the first version of the Correspondent program in 2013—three years after our first article went live on January 25, 2010—we began with a handful of dedicated individuals. Over the past five years, that group has grown and become the heartbeat of our contributor community. They provide us with feedback on what’s going on in the world of open source, they reach out to leaders and members of open source communities and projects, and they pen articles that truly change lives," says Jason Hibbets, founding community manager for Opensource.com.
The Opensource.com community is open, kind, and inquisitive. And it's incredibly rewarding to be a member (and if you're reading this article, you already are).
Yearly Community Awards
Every year, Opensource.com awards people from our community who have excelled in contributing and sharing stories with our community of authors and readers. These stories reflect how we use open source in our everyday lives, how it helps us build a better future with open technology, and how openness is changing the world. See all of this year's award winners.
Below is a snapshot of the winners in the Linux category for 2020!
As we celebrate a decade, we invite you to take a look back at how open source adoption has grown in the last 10 years. We've collected some of the most impactful open source stories from 2010 to 2019 in our special edition yearbook. Reflecting on all the good it has shared with the world, how has open source affected you personally? Share your thoughts in the comments.