Drupal

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Avoid the tool trap when building communities


Over the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different organizations attempting to build successful communities inside and outside the open source world.

Many of them quickly fall into something I call the tool trap.

Meaning, they immediately jump into a conversation about what tool or technology they will use to support the community:

“Where are we going to put the wiki?”

“Should we build the website using Drupal?”

“What should we call the mailing list?”

“We should starting playing around with [new technology X].”

This is no huge surprise. Great community-building tools are now available to us that never existed before and it is very hard to resist the urge to start nerding out on new technology.

And tools are important. But tools alone do not create community.

People create community.

[Read the rest of this post on opensource.com]

Is open source creating jobs?


On the heels of last week’s White House Jobs and Economic Forum, President Barack Obama announced a series of job creation ideas today in a speech at the Brookings Institution.

As I mentioned in my last post, Red Hat’s Jim Whitehurst was one of two technology industry CEOs who attended the White House forum last week, the other was Eric Schmidt from Google. Two things Red Hat and Google have in common? We are both strong supporters of open source and we are both hiring.

But this morning I had another thought– beyond the jobs at Google and Red Hat, are we– and other companies in the open source community– helping create jobs at a broader level? Meaning, are the products, services, and innovations of open source companies creating job opportunities for people who use what we make?

To find some data, I turned to Indeed.com, a search engine for job seekers that also has a fascinating job trends tool you can use to search on how often a particular term appears in job listings.

As a baseline data point, I looked at the chart for “receptionist,” a common job that might be a decent bellwether for job trends. The chart looks pretty much like you might expect:


receptionist Job Trends graph

Not great news for any receptionist looking for work. This term had once appeared in almost 2% of job postings, now it is hovering right below 0.8%.

Next, for some overall industry perspective, I looked at their page on Information Technology job trends. Not a lot of good news here either, unfortunately. These two pieces of information were disturbing:

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