Six public relations lessons for open source projects |

Six public relations lessons for open source projects

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The Linux Foundation's Collaboration Summit tends to focus on technical and legal sessions for industry experts — but one of the better sessions at the Summit was Press Training for Community Projects. Led by Jennifer Cloer, the Linux Foundation's director of communications and community, the session drew a great mix of open source contributors and press to trade ideas.

In addition to Cloer, the event brought in folks from several open source projects, a handful of press (including Alex Williams from ReadWriteWeb, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, and Jake Edge from LWN) and a few other PR folks. It was a half-day session, with some really good back-and-forth about how to get attention from the press and the best coverage for projects.

Care and feeding of the press is really not that difficult, whether you're working with a commercial vendor or community driven project. It is different, in that most community driven projects don't have the funds to hire PR folks. So you're going to need someone from the community to wear the PR hat — but then you don't have the funds to hire Web developers, designers, programmers, translators, or people to show up and speak at events, either. Most projects that actually would have a need for PR manage to find the bodies to do those things, they can probably find someone good at handling PR as well.

Though it's not difficult, most developers and FOSS contributors tend to approach PR as if it must be very hard to do. It's not. It's possible to do a bang-up job by following a few simple steps.

Continue reading the six lessons on Network World; excerpt reposted with permission


About the author

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier - Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years covering IT. Formerly the openSUSE Community Manager for Novell, Brockmeier is a longtime free and open source software advocate. He has written for many publications, including Linux Magazine, Sys Admin, Linux Pro Magazine, IBM developerWorks,,, Linux Weekly News, ZDNet, and many others. You can reach Zonker at and follow him on