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Open Source for the Enterprise by Gautam Guliani, Dan Woods

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Opportunities for Skill Building

So far, we directed this chapter at open source project leaders. But worry not; something is lurking in here for IT departments, the heroes of this book.

Productization provides an opportunity for beginners and intermediate players to do service to projects they find useful and want to see succeed. Just writing beginner-level documentation can be a great service and will earn the gratitude of project leaders, who will no doubt be inclined to be more friendly and helpful.

Beyond that, working on writing actual code for simple productization tasks such as creating code samples or administrative interfaces under the direction of more experienced people can be an excellent way to improve an IT department’s skill level.

Contributing features to an open source project not only builds skills and increases understanding, but it also initiates contact with more experienced developers in a project, who might review and evaluate the code. Being a major contributor to an open source project can also enhance the technical reputation of an IT department. Ticketmaster, a heavy user of Perl, has provided significant support for Perl.org, which has had the effect of attracting talented developers to the company.

Nothing will make productization fun, but, like flossing your teeth, there are many important reasons why everyone should do it.

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