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Ask HN: When and how should I release my open source tool?
51 points by flaque on Feb 1, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments
I'm very new to the open source world, but I built a command line tool for myself that I think other people could use too. I'm in the process of building a few new features that I think would be helpful to people (and to myself). Should I hold off on telling people about it until I finish those features? Or should I market it and then see which features people want? How do I find out what makes a tool "good" for other people?

Also, what's the correct way to tell people about a tool like this?

I think you should release it now. It's often times hard for open source tools to gain attention as they don't have the same marketing that tools from companies have, but you've just hit the front page of HN. So I think you should capitalize on this opportunity and release it if you think it is in a useable state as this websites attention span is in 6 hour increments at best.

Okay! In response to what "toomuchtodo" mentioned, I posted it as a "Shown HN:" https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13546486

Hopefully someone finds it useful!

Just upvoted.

I have an open source project called MarkdownPicPicker, which is used to upload img to web host and generate markdown format URL. I released it at its version of 0.1 and will cost a lot of time to set up the environment before use it.

But there are some people tell me that it is useful and they can not live without it.

Also, they suggested me of new features and develop it with me.

Now, MarkdownPicPicker is in its version of 1.0 and it is so easy to use it as soon as you download it both in macOS and windows.

I tell this story because I want to tell you that you should release it now and develop it according to other people's advice.

P.S. You can see MarkdownPicPicker at https://github.com/kingname/MarkdownPicPicker

Release it now!

> Also, what's the correct way to tell people about a tool like this?


Preface title with "Show HN: "

Might also share it on an appropriate Reddit subreddit.

I have two open source projects, one is 4 years old, and the other is about a year old.

I pushed them out to github as soon as they were useful. I waited to put a license until I was sure I would be able to support them and they were feature complete enough.

Release it straight away.

Don't worry about the code looking dirty, embryonic code always does. If it's a big enough tool it may warrant setting up a GitHub Pages site for it, just to make it a bit easier to find when somebody is suffering from the same problems you were.

In terms of new features, once you've put the repo on GitHub (or wherever) other people will likely suggest features as issues or modify the program themselves (and hopefully open a PR).

Okay, I made a github pages site for it: https://flaque.github.io/thaum/

Is using `wget` or `curl` the correct way to distribute the binary?

curl should be fine, might I suggest changing your instructions from:

curl "https://github.com/Flaque/thaum/releases/download/v0.2.0-bet... -o "/usr/local/bin/thaum"

to use sudo and chmod because root owns `/usr/local/bin` by default:

sudo curl "https://github.com/Flaque/thaum/releases/download/v0.2.0-bet... -o "/usr/local/bin/thaum" && sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/thaum

I was worried about asking people to use sudo, but I think you're right. I'll do that. Thanks!

When I released my first ruby gem for rspec test suite parallelisation I decided to write a short blog post about it. If you don't have your own blog you can write the post on your company blog. Thanks to that you will get some promotion because your company or colleagues can tweet or share it on Facebook.

Another thing I did was to post my article on Reddit in the ruby group. This seems to be a validated way of getting some traction. Make sure your friend read the blog post before publishing so you can iterate after feedback to make it interesting for people who will first time hear about your tool. :)

Oh, and here is my blog post: http://blog.lunarlogic.io/2014/parallel-your-specs-and-dont-...

Best is to develop in the open from the very first commit. If you've already got code in progress, then open it up now and keep working as you would have anyway. In other words: "release as open source" != "declare version 1.0". Open sourcing your code is unrelated to publishing a release; you can do the latter any time you want, from your open source repository. The way to ask for eyeballs is to make an announcement about a release -- to say "this code is ready for you to try it out", which, again, is independent of whenever you might have open sourced the code prior to that announcement.

Release early, release often.

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