Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Seven tips for leading FOSS programmers

Filed under
HowTos

Books about management techniques rarely mention how to lead computer programmers. The few that do sooner or later reach for a cliché and compare the effort to herding cats -- J. Hank Rainwater, for instance, uses the phrase as his title. Partly, the comparison reflects how much the topic is outside the corporate mainstream. However, the comparison also reflects the conflicting nature of the job. The typical IT department represents a separate culture within a company, and a successful manager must both understand that culture and act as a bridge between it and the rest of the company, trying to explain each to the other.

've seen dozens of managers -- including myself -- approach this conflict, each with varying degrees of success. My observations here summarize what I believe are the basic facts that managers needs to know to manage programmers. They apply to any programmers, but especially to those involved in free and open source software (FOSS), many of whom develop typical programmer attitudes to an extreme. Although some of the points seem obvious to those familiar with programmers, let me assure you: To outsiders, if their mistakes are any indication, the points still need to be emphasized.

You're in a meritocracy. Prove yourself.

Just because you're in charge doesn't mean you're better

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Eltechs Debuts x86 Crossover Platform for ARM Tablets, Mini-PCs

The product, called ExaGear Desktop, runs x86 operating systems on top of hardware devices using ARMv7 CPUs. That's significant because x86 software, which is the kind that runs natively on most computing platforms today, does not generally work on ARM hardware unless software developers undertake the considerable effort of porting it. Since few are likely to do that, having a way to run x86 applications on ARM devices is likely to become increasingly important as more ARM-based tablets and portable computers come to market. That said, the ExaGear Desktop, which Eltechs plans to make available next month, currently has some steep limitations. First, it only supports Ubuntu Linux. And while Eltechs said support for additional Linux distributions is forthcoming, there's no indication the product will be able to run x86 builds of Windows on ARM hardware, a feat that is likely to be in much greater demand than Linux compatibility. Read more

It's Elementary, with Sparks, and Unity

In today's Linux news Jack Wallen review Elementary OS and says it's not just the poor man's Apple. Jack Germain reviewed SparkyLinux GameOver yesterday and said it's a win-win. Linux Tycoon Bryan Lunduke testdrives Ubuntu's Unity today in the latest entry in his desktop-a-week series. And finally tonight, just what the heck is this Docker thing everybody keeps talking about? Read more

5 Linux distributions for very old computers

This is part 4 in a series of articles designed to help you choose the right Linux distribution for your circumstances. Here are the links to the first three parts: Which desktop environment should you use? 5 easiest to use Linux distributions for modern machines 5 easiest to use Linux distributions for older machines Some of you will have computers that are really old and none of the solutions presented thus far are of much use. This guide lists those distributions designed to run with limited RAM, limited disk space and limited graphics capabilities. Ease of use is sometimes comprimised when using the really light distributions but once you get used to them they are every bit as functional as a Ubuntu or Linux Mint. Read more

Open source software: The question of security

The logic is understandable - how can a software with source code that can easily be viewed, accessed and changed have even a modicum of security? opensource-security-question Open source software is safer than many believe. But with organizations around the globe deploying open source solutions in even some of the most mission-critical and security-sensitive environments, there is clearly something unaccounted for by that logic. According to a November 28 2013 Financial News article, some of the world's largest banks and exchanges, including Deutsche Bank and the New York Stock Exchange, have been active in open source projects and are operating their infrastructure on Linux, Apache and similar systems. Read more