Earlier this week, Jack Wallen posted his opinion on generating good buzz for Linux by suggesting a compelling commercial campaign. Apparently, better PR (public relations as well as press relations) is one area that Linux and open source projects, in general, need to improve.
The odds are that serious open source developers and project managers aren't spending a lot of their time thinking about the press or strategizing about their "image." But if you want your project to get in front of your target users, it wouldn't hurt to give some thought to publicizing it a little. It could result in additional development help or even donations of funds to keep the project moving ahead. And if you don't actively court the press, at least don't make it difficult for people to figure out what you're doing.
ZDNet blogger Jason Perlow tweeted a pointer to a very helpful article by Esther Schindler on just this topic, "Four Things Open Source Projects Should Know About Dealing with the Press." Schindler has some practical advice for anyone who needs a little help with this whole PR thing, including making yourself "discoverable."
Creating a /press page isn't a bad idea even if attracting media attention is low on your priority list. Having the "who we are, what we're doing, and why you should care" info in one place also might help users and developers find out if your project is worth their download time.
To see what other advice Schindler offers, see the original post; it's not terribly long and well worth a read if you've been frustrated that so few people realize how brilliant you are!
If you have other ideas for how to succeed in open source, share them below.
Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and IT Security blogs.