How to Have a Successful Free Software Project

  • Anthony Senyard, University of Melbourne
  • Martin Michlmayr, University of Melbourne


Some free software projects have been extremely successful. This rise to prominence can be attributed to the high quality and suitability of the software. This quality and suitability is achieved through an elaborate peer-review process performed by a large community of users, who act as co-developers to identify and correct software defects and add features. Although this process is crucial to the success of free software projects, there is more to the free software development than the creation of a ‘bazaar’. In this paper we draw on existing free software projects to define a lifecycle model for free software. This paper then explores each phase of the lifecycle model and agrees that, while the bazaar phase attracts the most attention, it is the initial modular design that accommodates diverse interventions. Moreover, it is the period of transition from the initial group to the larger community based development that is crucial in determining whether a free software project will succeed or fail.



Senyard, A., Michlmayr, M. (2004). How to Have a Successful Free Software Project. In: Proceedings of the 11th Asia-Pacific Software Engineering Conference. 84–91.