OSDN's Fundamental Policy and the New Three Principles
2015-07-24 15:54 (by sado)

It's been two months since our site has changed the name to OSDN. Here, we would like to talk about our fundamental policy which hasn't changed a bit ever since the site has been founded, and the new three principles which were established after we changed the site name.

The Fundamental Policy

When the predecessor of today's OSDN management organization was founded in 2000, we ranked the three “D”s, which are Develop, Distribute, and Discussion, as the core necessities for open source development by the open source community. So we started the predecessor site of OSDN, so as to become the center core site that support the three “D”s.

Since then, more than ten years have passed, and the environment that encircles open source continues to change dramatically, but the value of those three “D”s remain to mean a great deal of importance to the community now and then. So here at OSDN, we hold on to our fundamental policy to provide services of these three "D"s, free of charge, to all the communities that cherish open source and continue to support their work.

Efforts on Internationalization

The former site of OSDN used to be recognized as a site providing services targeting Japanese speakers, and there was even a rather prolonged time where people saw it as a preparation site to step up to the original forge site. So naturally, Japanese language became the primary language for the entire system, and although we worked on the internationalization with the English translation, it was only partial and only as far as people with some knowledge could participate the development activity without difficulty, and there were still untouched issues such as tools that only supported Japanese language, and help and messages that weren't complete.

Now, OSDN is working on the further internationalization of the site, and by providing complete support for major languages, we aim to make this site comfortably workable even for a group of non-Japanese speakers to work together.

Links to Services Targeting Developers

To achieve the aforementioned three “D”s , what we had tried was to implement tool functions that seemed relevant and popular at the time. Functions such as Wiki, ticket system, repository and Fork were implemented at the points in time when they seemed necessary.

However, today's development style is leaning toward combining many different tools and SaaS to use for software development, and honestly, it is simply not a practical way to provide services which lets users implement the necessary tools that are found only at OSDN. Thereupon, OSDN now puts more emphasis on links to other developer-targeted services and tools, and aim to become a system that provides flexibility with more options for implementation.

Rewards to the Developers

Even for open-source software, we can not deny that there are costs in forms of money, labor, time, and so on. And that spurred many discussions about how to generate stable funds for those costs, and the most discussed tricky issue was how to reward financially.

For the development projects to receive funds, the classical way to do this is by seeking revenue from ads like Google Adsense and donations from individuals or companies. But it is hard for projects that aren't popular and big-scale, and they are constantly faced with the unstable revenue problem. These days, there are some projects that bundle adware to the program installer. Because it is very hard to sustain stable and sufficient revenue through open-source development, we will not judge and reject it completely. However, having heard about the incident that happened at other site that triggered outcry from the community, we have to acknowledge that this is not a well-received way to raise money.

Unfortunately we do not have the perfect solution to tackle this continuous cost problem. But we are trying to come up with a system that rewards projects with popular softwares that attract many users. By this coming fall, we will set the provisional rules and period for testing, and hopefully we'll be able to have this rewarding system come into full effect.

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