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Building belonging is the secret to open source success

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At the Southern California Linux Expo last week, Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon discussed the importance of community building and the role that it plays in accelerating open source software development.

The community-driven development model has proven enormously successful for many large-scale software projects. Communities often emerge organically around technologies that have substantial value, but it can be difficult to focus and direct the community's efforts in productive ways. During his presentation, Bacon shared some insight about how communities work, why people voluntarily choose to participate, and what can be done to reduce the barriers to entry for new contributors.

The primary motivation for many volunteers, he said, is to obtain a sense of belonging. Participating in a collective effort to create something of practical value instills a feeling of shared purpose that reinforces an individual's enthusiasm for contributing.

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