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icon 2    April 4th, 2014
TOP STORY: Open Source Means Community
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Today we are delighted to announce the launch of a new role: LiveCode Community Manager. This is a voluntary role and we're very excited that Richard Gaskin has stepped up and offered to take on this important task. We couldn't ask for a better person for the role, with his long involvement with LiveCode and his deep interest in open source.


Richard Gaskin has been active in the xTalk community for more than 25 years, and a contributor to open source projects for more than a decade. Richard was the first project manager of the MetaCard IDE when it was released as open source in 2003, and in more recent years has served as the organizer for UbuCon at the SoCal Linux Expo, in addition to having co-founded both the LiveCode and Ubuntu User Groups in Pasadena, California.


Through his company, Fourth World Systems, Richard has been developing tools and learning materials for LiveCode and related languages, and maintains as a community resource for such materials. He's served on the advisory boards for Oracle Media Objects, Allegiant SuperCard, and Triton Gain Momentum, and with RunRev Ltd. Richard developed the first tutorials included with version 1.0 of their product. For the last several years Richard has also volunteered as a moderator for the LiveCode forums.


Here's what he has to say.


The longer I spend in open source communities like those of the Drupal and Ubuntu projects, the clearer it becomes to me that there's a healthy symbiotic relationship between open source and proprietary software.

Companies like Apple, IBM, Google, and even Microsoft, who make much of their revenue from proprietary software, contribute millions to open source projects. And in turn, open source software provides the tools and technologies that play a key role in the success of those companies.

So last year when RunRev announced they were making an open source Community Edition of LiveCode, I was of course very excited. With the Commercial Edition, I can continue to serve my clients and customers with proprietary software as I have for years. But with the new open source Community Edition, now the entire world is invited to participate. The opportunities for all of us who enjoy LiveCode are as boundless as the scope of our collective imagination.


And that's really the key to open source: you.

That is, all of us. Open source is more than just a discount price of zero for software, it's an invitation to collaborate. With open source, everyone who uses the software can benefit from anyone willing to lend a hand.

Torvalds' Law says, "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow." That principle can be applied far beyond finding bugs, to enhancing all aspects of the software experience, including documentation, training, and more.

An open source project gives us an opportunity to make it truly our own. With the Community Edition, LiveCode has a chance to change the world, to bring the power of making computers do what you want to everyone. LiveCode can fulfill that vision to the degree that its community is willing to make it happen.


Being a LiveCode developer I use many operating systems and I like them all for different reasons, but my current favorite is Ubuntu. I've been using it for several years before LiveCode going open source, and the time I've spent with it has helped me appreciate how important it is for an open source project to incorporate a sense of partnership between the company managing the software and the community they serve.


Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, understands this well. Many years ago they brought on Jono Bacon as their Community Manager. I had the pleasure of meeting Jono at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in May of 2012, and have been fortunate enough to have him as the keynote speaker of the UbuCon events I've organized for the SoCal Linux Expo. He's a powerhouse of great ideas for making the most of community involvement, and his book The Art of Community is widely consider the seminal work on open source community management.


In fact, the suggestion that I consider the role of LiveCode Community Manager came from Jono, shortly after LiveCode went open source. It took me a while to warm to the notion, since Jono's role with Ubuntu is a big and sometimes complex one. But at this stage LiveCode is a much smaller project, and while I don't have Jono's experience maybe all that's needed right now is someone willing to help facilitate some of the great ideas the LiveCode community has.


By the time LiveCode has as many users as Ubuntu (an estimated 20 million or so), they'll no doubt need a full-time dedicated resource to serve as Community Manager. But in these early days, still less than a year since the first open source release of LiveCode, we all have an opportunity to discover together what community means for this project, and how we can contribute to making LiveCode become the very best it can be.


One of the things I'll be helping with first is raising visibility for some of the most useful open source tools and libraries the community has produced. To get that started we have a few projects that will soon have their own dedicated forum sections. But that's just a small step toward a larger goal of helping LiveCoders find the resources they need. The community has made so many great ones available, but we need to find ways to make them easier to discover. I'm hoping we can bring in some members of the community to form a team to address that.


And even that's just one corner of the world of opportunity the community can address.


LiveCode Community Edition is a big step forward for all of us, the first major xTalk to have gone open source. Kevin, Ben, and the others at RunRev are committed to making LiveCode a successful open source project, and I'm committed to doing what I can to facilitate community initiatives.


Let's show the world what LiveCode can do. Think about what you feel could benefit the community, and let's see if we can pull together the resources within the community to make it happen.


We'll set up a section in the forums soon to discuss your ideas, but if you need to reach me sooner feel free to use the email address below.


Richard Gaskin
LiveCode Community Manager

Richard Gaskin

Richard Gaskin runs Fourth World Systems and has a long involvement with LiveCode.

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