The OpenNMS project was registered on 30th March 2000 on SourceForge and in these early days everyone talked about CVS or Subversion. Benjamin Reed migrated the project very early to git and this was a big change for our community, but it paid off so well. It made it also pretty easy to move our project from SourceForge to GitHub.
At the time we had a IRC channel hosted on freenode. We tried Slack but we love Open Source and ultimately went with Mattermost. By using an IRC bridge we have continued to accommodate the IRC crowd while allowing other users to have a modern web based way to collaborate. Mattermost made it easier growing from around 90 people when we just had IRC to now over 600 in opennms-discuss and 800 people in our Town Square channel just in the last 3 years.
The last missing pieces were our SourceForge-hosted mailing lists, which have operated without changes since the beginning. We toyed with addressing questions on StackOverflow, but it never really took off. A lot of OpenNMS questions get down-moderated because the type of questions don't really fit into the StackOverflow topic, and it feels fragmented to our other community channels. We stuck with our mailing lists and we didn't really have a modern replacement for them. People want something which is not a real-time chat that provides a more structured, searchable history and a mechanism to qualify valuable content.
A few weeks ago we stumbled across an advertisement from Discourse where they informed about a relaunch of their Free hosting for Open Source projects. We got in contact and quickly got feedback with the good news that our project qualifies for the free hosting offering. We went back to our community to see if this is something they would like to use and we got very positive feedback.
Now here we are and with the help of the Discourse team you get all the fancy modern features driven by true Open Source software. We invite you to our brand new OpenNMS Discourse instance which is now up and running. Be excellent to each other and we welcome you to join our community. You can just passively read, or if you want to get involved, use your existing GitHub Login or create an account with your mail address.
There is always space for improvement, so you are welcome to give feedback or just talk to us in our chat.
See you there and hope you have fun.
With kudos to Mark Mahacek, Jeff Gehlbach and Jessica Hustace for their help writing this article.