“Open source” means many things to many people. All kinds of projects get grouped under this label, and their open source approaches vary widely. Sometimes it helps to think through how an effort’s open source approach matches its goals, resources, and environment. Our archetypes work is designed to help with that thinking by giving us a common vocabulary to discuss open source in ways that take account of important differences.

In partnership with Mozilla, we prepared a field guide to open source project archetypes. It is a first step in addressing that problem. The report catalogs a number of open source archetypes we observe around the community. OTS and Mozilla have found these archetypes to be a useful resource when crafting strategy, weighing tradeoffs, and committing support to open source endeavors. Today, we share the results of this work with the community.

We hope it is useful to you as you design open source initiatives, weigh tradeoffs in strategy, and pick metrics to track success. The archetypes we list are useful comparison points for anybody trying to maximize the benefits of their open source investment.

Archetypes Captured

You can download the report here. Mozilla blogged about it. We also put the source text on GitHub and invite contributions to future versions. Finally, please drop us a line at archetypes AT if you have comments.