How is rebuilding a community after the death of an organization


Image by Austin Distel on Unsplash. Modified by

For about ten years, a large number of writers from around the world contributed articles to OSDC, as we called it, published thousands of articles, helped to guide and mentor many of us as we began or boosted our writing careers. OSDC also helped some of us make connections into the book publishing world; for that, I’m grateful as my five books will attest — and I’m not the only one.

We also met some of our far-flung writers in biweekly video conferences on Jitsi with an open and unconstrained format that allowed us to meet and get to know each other. With no set agenda we discussed many things, our lives, our work, our writing and more. We solved problems and just chatted. We built a strong, vibrant, and active community.

OSDC was an open organization that nurtured its writers and provided a space for many new and experienced writers to publish. OSDC was created and supported by Red Hat — until it was purchased by IBM and soon deemed extraneous. In April of 2023, and nearly all of its Red Hat employees were terminated and left without jobs for the employees and a place to publish for all.

Well — we tried

For several months after the death of OSDC, a few of our alumni worked with another organization in an attempt to resurrect the OSDC community and provide it with a website home where we could publish our articles. That effort got off to a rocky start and went downhill from there.

We did manage to keep some semblance of community during this time through continuation of biweekly video conferences. This allowed a core group to maintain our sense of community and to discuss the current situation and what might be done in the future.

The open solution

On December 14, 2023, our core group was in our regular Jitsi meeting, lamenting the glacial pace of getting our work published through the organization we had thought would help us continue with our work and community. The consensus was that we would not be able to change that organization enough to meet our needs.

That organization, while performing important work for open source in general, had little experience with, the pace with which OSDC was able to publish our articles, or the need to build and nurture our community.

As we discussed this situation, the solution became clear. Although we’d discussed it before, we had wanted to see how things went with the other organization. As it was now excruciatingly clear that it wouldn’t work for us, we revisited the idea that I would provide the new home for OSDC. Since the DNS name of is already taken — along with most other names that include the words “open” and “source” — we decided that is as good a name as any since I already owned it.

I also have AT&T Gigabit fiber and a large number of computers, one of which was already set up with my web site. Since my web site was already up and running, all we needed was a few articles in the spirit of OSDC to get started. My own articles up to that point were mostly around my books, a few problems I found and fixed, and other open source related stuff.

All of the folks in that meeting including me, offered up articles, most of which were ones we wanted to make sure didn’t get lost forever if OSDC ever turned off their servers. We also had a few new ones that had never been published before but had been intended for OSDC.

I created accounts for our core group on WordPress, and added them as Editors so they can create and edit articles. One of our group added some new pages about and what we intend it to be.

We went “live” by posting some of those pages and articles on that same day.


Things have changed a lot since that first day of the new We changed the web site theme that first day to be more dynamic and flexible. We added some pages that describe who we are and removed some posts and pages that didn’t make sense to keep. We added another OSDC alumnus to our all-volunteer editorial staff. We changed a number of WordPress plugins to ones that work better for us, especially a new statistics module which we activated a little over 5 weeks ago.

Unfortunately we lost all of our old statistics when we removed the old statistics module. That’s fine because they were continually reducing the data we had access to in order to force us to subscribe to the pay-to-play version. As an entirely volunteer operation with no financial support, and with only the donated host we now use, paying for statistics is a bit outside our capability right now.

We now have access to far more data than ever. Since activating the new stats module we see some good things over that 5 weeks.

  • 12,448 unique visitors.
  • 25,329 page views.
  • Slow but continuing growth of both visitors and views.
  • Our visitors are from nearly every country on the planet.
  • The countries with the greatest number of visitors are the U.S., Singapore, China, and Germany.
  • The most viewed posts are the more technical ones.

We know some of those page views are due to search engine bots, but most are humons[sic]1.

One thing that the stat modules don’t tell is that we’ve got an unbroken record of at least one new article (post) every day since December 15. Those results and our progress are due to our all-volunteer community.

Open thoughts

Our community has kept us going during the transition to However, communities are fragile things. In the open source world, they are usually composed of geographically dispersed, diverse individuals with widely different ideas and interests. For and now, some contribute only one or two articles while others, more prolific, dozens or even hundreds. Many of our community just read the articles.

When OSDC stopped publishing new material, most members of its community were left without any pointer to a new place to publish that provided the same large audience along with any real sense of community. Even now with active and healthy, most of the contributors to OSDC still have no idea where to look for a replacement.

One part of that problem is that Red Hat owns all of the lists and web sites through which communication took place, and they stopped all activity through them. Thus, many writers were instantaneously cut off from any communication so have no idea that a replacement for OSDC — — even exists.

Call for Help

We would appreciate your help in rebuilding our community.

Those of us at are asking for your help to spread the word about our community and our web site. Our objective is to try to reach as many open source technical writers as possible. We hope to reach many of those who previously wrote for as well as new writers.

We also want to encourage you — yes, you — to write for us. Visit our Write for us page for details about what we’re looking for and how to submit articles and proposals.

And spread the word.

Please note that at, we’re committed to keeping our corner of the web ad-free. does not sell advertising on the website. Nor do we offer sponsored articles.

  1. The Ferengi pronunciation of “humon” is a gender neutral rendering of human. ↩︎