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We have an open source Java project (REMPL) and actively looking for volunteers. What is the best way to find them? Junior programmers are OK for us.

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closed as not constructive by gnat, Thomas Owens Sep 3 '12 at 7:46

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Whose we? Not a lot of information here... –  Kenneth Mar 22 '11 at 19:32
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Have you tried CodePlex or SourceForge? –  aggietech Mar 22 '11 at 19:35
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"Volunteers"? As I guess you want bright people, they will not be stupid enough to work for you without good reason (and money is apparently out of the question). Please reconsider how you will convince anybody that you are worth their time. –  user1249 Mar 22 '11 at 19:36
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@yegor256: So you're OK with morons? :P –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Mar 22 '11 at 20:31
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@yegor256 you said "we're not looking for bright people." Might be a language thing, but you basically just said you don't want smart people. –  NateDSaint Apr 18 '11 at 11:49
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5 Answers

Building an open source community from the ground up can be difficult, particularly if you are starting from obscurity. Open source veterans look for projects that have a decent community around them, where there's more than one knowledgeable person to answer new user's questions. Also, they look for projects that interest them.

Since money is not part of the equation, the only thing you have to barter with is utility. How useful or interesting is your project? Assuming you believe you have a winner, you need to get information about your project and how it helps out in the universe. It used to be that trade magazines would allow you to submit articles, but most of the trade magazines are a shadow of what they once were.

The best approach is to integrate yourself with other communities. If you solve a problem already that another group needs, more often than not they will want to work with you instead of re-inventing the wheel from scratch. The obvious exception to this rule is when the two open source licenses are not compatible (like GPL and just about everything else).

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I'd say for most OSS developers "scratch your own itch" is the main reason to participate. So you should look for people interested in working on your project among people who would be interested in using it.

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This "REMPL" thing is some sort of static code analysis tool, right? Have you considered adding a brief description of REMPL to the "Reverse Engineering" Wikibook, in the "Analysis tools" section?

Alas, this only applies to this specific application, rather than open-source projects in general.

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You might look to recruit at community colleges (or regular ones for that matter) in the CS department. I'd think a lot of those people would be interested in getting some "real world" experience under their belt to put on the resume. If you're not involved in the programming world, you might have very little understanding of the open source movement.

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Sadly there is no simple answer. The best thing I can recommend is Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project book. It includes a section about recruitment.

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