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From Matthew J Babcock <>
Subject RE: Barrier to Entry?
Date Thu, 11 Jan 2018 16:18:18 GMT

My two cents as a heavy 3.0.3 user who was interested enough in contributing to join the dev
list but not enough to actually contribute, yet. 

Some general observations:

- As Itamar wrote nearly two years ago (see,
.NET OSS has had trouble building communities. Things have improved a little since then but
compared to other languages it's still pretty bad.
- The Apache project page has remained stagnant with the most recent news being the release
of 3.0.3 (from 2012!) which may leave the impression that the project doesn't have on-going
- Being an Apache project is a great benefit for users, but it adds overhead for contributors
with questionable benefit, e.g. the Individual Contributor License Agreement. Slowing the
time needed to perform that first commit is an unexpectedly heavy deterrent.
- Many OSS contributors will only work on projects that they are able to use themselves, and
the migration path from 3.0.3 to 4.8 is pretty rough.
- Being a "port from Java" gives the impression that the projects direction is not its own.
This and the fact that you're targeting an already old version of Lucene sort of sours the
fun of contributing. I don't think a comparable greenfield project that is simply compatible
with Lucene would suffer the same.
- In my experience, Lucene.NET and even Java Lucene are often used for prototyping/MVP or
otherwise just small projects. Once scale becomes critical, many projects will switch to Solr,
ElasticSearch, or the like. That makes your target contributor audience small because many
that would contribute are more likely to contribute to these other projects or to projects
in their ecosystems.

The biggest hurdle for me has been figuring out what to contribute. I only have at most an
hour a week and after spending the first couple of hours just trying to figure out where to
start, I lost interest. I've been spoiled by the GitHub issue workflow, and I'm sure other
OSS devs have as well. Jira feels clunky and doesn't really seem to be used effectively when
your contributing guide says "If you are thinking of making a change that will result in more
than 25 lines of changed code, we would appreciate you opening a discussion on our developer
mailing list before you start writing." Yuck.

Not to be all doom and gloom, Lucene.NET has been game changing for me. Thank you to those
that have made it possible.


-----Original Message-----
From: Stefan Bodewig [] 
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 8:44 AM
Subject: Barrier to Entry?

Hi all,

it looks as if we had a rather big user community but almost nobody seems to be interested
in contributing. There are occasional pull requests but not that many.

I wonder whether there is anything that keeps people away from contributing. Is it the complexity
of the project, the "port from Java"
aspect or are there technical or procedural issues that we could change to make it easier
for others to contribute?


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