Best Way to Promote Open Source Project Image

Best Way to Promote Open Source Project

Promoting your open source project is a time consuming task. Doing so manually is tedious and time consuming. You need an open source software that could automate the whole process. Manage Engine OpManager, as a powerful open source operating system management and monitoring tool, provides one such solution that can save you a great deal of time, enabling you to increase your focus on troubleshooting and new product development for your project.

This e-book describes how developers, authors, artists and others can organize a community to effectively promote an open source project. It covers the practical aspects of organizing the community (through forums), getting the word out about the project and encouraging participation, soliciting and handling contributions, ensuring that non-technical contributors are also brought into projects, etc. The importance of setting up these infrastructure activities through a democratic process is emphasized.

 ðŸŽ¢ Preparation step

👌 Make sure your project is mature enough😎 Choose a cool name for your project💅 Make your README pretty💪 Highlight strong points of your project✨ Provide a demo of your project👌 Install/Usage must be super easy📘 Create a clean and well structured documentation

 Ease into self promotion with shameless plugs. Start off with a disclaimer at the beginning of the message you are preparing to send out to your audience; tell them that what you’re about to say is self promotional. I’ve found people are not offended by this and are grateful for your forethought—particularly on mailing lists. Not to mention, most of your peers have probably been there too and understand.

Personally, I use the shameless plug all the time and there are two things I do each time. First, word things in a straight-forward way, remove the gimmicks and marketing fluff. Second, I consider my audience. Are these people that know me well? Or a new audience where perhaps some tip-toeing is needed to test the waters?

Make a marketing plan

Promotional activities are part of marketing and to some extent of the sales process. You continuously have to do branding and selling of your ideas, even if you are sharing open source software for free. So while it might sound strange at first sight, a marketing plan might actually be of great help.

You may start by adding a description of a typical user who would use the software. If there are multiple audiences, describe them. Answer the question of why they would use your software and what benefit they have from using it. Another good addition is the locations where you will promote your solution, like the developer platforms, forums, or other websites.


  • Open source software is no different than other products and needs promotion
  • Promotion is needed, especially in crowded areas
  • Using a marketing plan helps with the promotion and better value proposition

Use the buddy system. A great way to overcome the anxiety of most things we do for the first time is to find a partner. Someone who will share the load, support us when we need an ear, and help us figure out what to do next. This person can do a variety of things to help, like listen to your message and suggest people you should connect with.

Nowadays, people will crowdsource their ideas to social media, perhaps finding a few like-minded folks to connect with and pitch their idea to. This is key:  return the favor. Promote their progress and accomplishments where it seems fit. You want this to feel organic, not forced. Don’t over do it; it’s a delicate balance that’s dependent on each person or group in the relationship.

By buddying up, it’s easier to overcome any shyness and build a network. Over time, you’ll create a valuable resource of people you can count on for future needs. Again, do what feels the most natural, you don’t want to abuse the relationship.

Software quality

Most users of software expect a certain amount of quality from software. Quality is a delicate outcome of how well the software is written, the usability of documentation and how often you can repeat an expected outcome. In other words, it is everything which makes the software rock-solid, usable and understandable.

One area which helps with software quality is testing. Although this process might not be that entertaining, you might be surprised about the value. Everyone likes new features, but still many would choose stability over features. So be agile and add new features, but ask yourself how it may impact the quality of your software.


  • Deliver stable software
  • Only add something if it adds value
  • If it lowers quality, don’t add it

Highlight your contributions. In Nathan McMinn’s article, Need a resume boost? Get involved with an open source project, he discusses how the value people bring to open source projects are ripe for recruiters because of the natural visibility (due to transparency) of an open source landscape. Pick a recurring time (weekly, monthly, or quarterly) to publish the work you do and promote yourself. Look at it this way, if you’re contributing your work to the world, the least you can do is build your resume.

Alternatively, maybe your project has a newsletter that can perform a similar function. The project leader or project manager can piece together different contributions and highlight different contributors.  This serves two purposes. First, it’s a great way to thank contributors—we all like to be thanked now and then don’t we? Second, it gives credit where credit is due. And in the open source world, our street cred is part of our resume.

Expectations is key

Like quality, people have different expectations. These expectations come in different levels:

  • Required
  • Expected
  • Desired
  • Unexpected

A good example is that you might require the software to be properly compiled. This is a minimum to even be able to use the software. If it doesn’t, people will stop using it. Next level is expected functionality. An anti-virus tool requires an updating mechanism to keep its malware database up-to-date. Then there are the desired functions, which are simply nice to have. Last but not least, there are the unexpected benefits. The software could be fulfilling a completely different goal than intended. A great example is nmap. It is known as a port scanner, is also able to do much more (like vulnerability scanning).


  • People have basic expectations of your software
  • Be clear on your website and documentation on what they might expect
  • Tell them what the software is, and optionally what it isn’t.


It is possible to make money with Open Source. Usually, people are making money with it indirectly. For example, a programmer who writes an important software component and whose component is used by the creators of a proprietary product may sell support for this product. He will receive money either directly on the product’s website or through some other channel (a person, an organization, etc.).

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