Today is RC2 day for CDT 4. As we get closer to milestone build dates, I send out friendly reminders to the cdt-dev mailing list on what bugs are still open against that milestone. It’s just a prod to get the developers to do something about them so that we have no open bugs on a milestone when we do the build. It’s worked every time as we get the friendly but odd ‘Zarro bugs found’ message from my bugzilla query when we’re ready.
RC2 was no different. This morning we had two left. Ken from Austin, Texas gave an update on his asking for feedback. I, from Ottawa, Canada gave some feedback for him to go ahead and fix it. Bala from London, England mentioned he had a patch ready for his and Mikhail from Russia replied saying he was looking at it. I’m confident we’ll be ready in a couple of hours to fire off the build and get the RC out by the end of the day.
This happens regularly on the CDT and once in a while I stand back and think of what just happened (and I think I’ve probably blogged about this before too). We have a very effective development team working on the CDT, and the cdt-dev mailing list is the backbone of that collaboration. A lot of groups use different technologies such as instant messenger or IRC channels, but for us the cdt-dev mailing list works great. Bugzilla comes in at a close second. But then, we treat bugzillas as mini mailing lists anyway.
I think the biggest benefit of the cdt-dev list is that it’s open to anyone. If you want to see what’s happening with the CDT at a high level, that’s the place to go. If you want more detail, then you really got to watch the bug reports and signing up to receive notifications on the cdt-*-inbox accounts are the best way to catch the train.
From my experience on the CDT, the most important tool you have to build a community is open communication, like mailing lists, forums, IRC. As your community grows, the only way to really talk to them all is via open communication, so it really forces you down that path and you end up doing it anyway. But in the early days, it was a hard habit to get into, especially when QNX was by itself, or even when I was at Rational and we started working with the QNX gang who were only a 5 minute drive from the Rational office. But open communication has really paid off in the end for the CDT and the reach of our cdt-dev mailing list impresses me time and time again.