What Minecraft Can Teach Us About Open Source Communities
Along with the praises I've already heaped upon Minecraft and the fascination I've continued to have with it, I've been enthusiastic about it because of its very unique development pattern.
Minecraft, you see, is developed a little bit like open source software evolves. The lead developer, Notch (Markus Persson and his company Mojang AB), has been plugged into online social media since day one. He tweets, he blogs, he responds to forums, he asks users what they want to see put in next. And also the game has a thriving mod community (even I've done a custom texture pack). What's more, when a mod becomes particularly popular, Notch ends up incorporating it into the game, such as with the pistons mod. For another example, the game now includes ways to switch custom texture packs.
Watching Minecraft "grow up" for two years has been a unique experience in studying how software and the community around it grows together. Here, we have an example of a developer who bends over backwards to make everybody as happy as he possibly, humanly can.