Click to go to Six Degrees From Dave Home Page

Glenn Gutmacher, “Top 10 Ways to Find Open Source Software Developers”

Posted on September 8, 2008
Filed Under Glenn Gutmacher, Sourcing Techniques | 5 Comments

by Glenn Gutmacher

  • Read Glenn’s Linkedin Profile
  • Website
  • Portfolio
  • Q: Do you have any recommendations for skill sites to find LAMP, PHP and Python developers? I found a few but nothing great.

    A: You will increase your possibilities greatly if you realize that you are basically talking about open source developers (what you mentioned are some of their primary tools/platforms – Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, Python). The ones who are skilled in this arena don’t need to promote themselves much (open source is hot, though don’t count Microsoft out yet 😉 so they don’t have to post resumes, and if they do, may not include the obvious programmatic keywords in their online footprint to minimize communication overload ("Funny, you are the 35th recruiter to call me today!").

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t do standard resume/CV search strings, but there are other options if that doesn’t turn up enough of what you need. Your question was a bit vague – LAMP/PHP/Python developers are plentiful – so by skill sites, I assume you mean places that will let you search by number of years of a particular programming skill? I don’t know any free sites that offer that in the aggregate (an example of a big tech job board with this option is Dice, but requires a paid login). I imagine you have some other job requirements that would narrow the field (e.g, by industry vertical expertise, geography, etc.) which would help narrow your search string criteria.

    In any case, here are my top 10 most fruitful categories of sources that will lead you to open source candidates (I’m open to suggestions of others that have worked for my blog readers – I’ll dig up a prize for the best one), not necessarily in this order:

    1) Niche industry news portals: like OnLamp where you can find out about open source development projects. You can find other such sites simply by adding the word "portal" to a keyword/phrase string (e.g., python portal) on any major search engine.

    2) Speaker/panelist lists: Find them from open source developer conferences (e.g., this was last week). They may be over-qualified, but querying their names on search engines will lead you to like people.

    3) Blogs: On that note, also check out their blogs, because their blogrolls will link to other qualified folks and their posts will talk about interesting projects/people (e.g., look at this post – and don’t forget that the people who post reply comments are potential candidates!)

    4) Certifications: search on some of the unique open source certification acronyms (can add it as keyword to resume/CV queries, too) like CMDEV for MySQL developers.

    5) Training: On a related note, you could ping companies that offer such cert training to see if they’d promote your opportunities to their alumni (maybe this) or request their list to reach out yourself (you never know if you don’t ask!).

    6) Discussion lists/forums: This is a goldmine for (READ THE REST HERE)

    View my profile on

    LinkedIn | Bio | MSN | Skype

    (720) 733-2022


    5 Responses to “Glenn Gutmacher, “Top 10 Ways to Find Open Source Software Developers””

    1. Steve Levy on September 9th, 2008 9:39 am


      My favorite open source technique isn’t even mentioned (could it be????) and takes advantage of the very phrase “open source.”

      First, do you (meaning the readers of this thread) truly realize what open source means? That code is freely available that has been written by the very developers one covets. If someone is seeking an OS developer, this means than OS code has probably been incorporated into the company’s codebase.

      The challenge is to identify the specific modules incorporated as well as the authors of these modules.

      Here’s an example. One of my clients uses OO Perl as its codebase, incorporating some 70 different open source modules into many areas of its applications. In the Perl world, the open source code is available at CPAN – Any reasonable sleuther can identify the entire CPAN author list (and as a teaser from me, this list – 5600 develoeprs strong – includes emails).

      I sent emails to all the authors of CPAN modules used by my client thanking the authors for the use of their great code. Guess what? No one had ever done this. Instant relationship and pipeline. Then I sent funny yet informative emails to the entire CPAN author list. Some told me to piss off and that all recruiters are dirt but so many – nearly 30% – were interested in developing a relationship. Even bigger pipeline.

      Here’s the email I sent out:


      Perl, Perl, Perl…the legend of the Great One, Larry Wall…YAPC…obfuscated code.

      Please don’t hate me because I’m a recruiter – all I ask is that you accept me because I do so for a great, growing company whose codebase is object-oriented Perl and where CPAN modules are heavily incorporated into our development efforts.

      **If it helps, I’m also an engineer who has coded in start-ups, turnarounds, and high growth companies (sure it was LISP, Prolog, and C but who’s keeping score?)**

      [Company] is looking to hire several great Perl developers – senior and mid-level – to work for us in New York City in an exceptionally developer friendly environment where code is king. You may be interested or you may know of someone who is. We’ll even relocate from most anywhere and sponsor too.

      That’s about it. If you can help me, great; if you want me to go away, never to email you again, just let me know. Either way, remember the sage words of Larry Wall who said,

      “What is the sound of Perl? Is it not the sound of a wall that people have stopped banging their heads against?”

      We believe…


      Same works for all other open source languages – there are comprehensive listings of modules and authors. Find them and start developing relationships. Just don’t do so as would the typical recruiter. You know what this means, don’t you?

    2. Steve Levy on September 9th, 2008 3:06 pm

      Here’s a starting point…Some – but not much – digging may be required. Keep in mind that developers are special people who respond to humor – the more self-deprecating the better…





    3. Glenn Gutmacher on September 10th, 2008 10:24 am

      Wow, thanks, Steve! If you don’t mind, I’m going to take the liberty of transferring this (crediting you, of course) as a comment to the original post on my blog.

      Also, your additions made me think of another related direction mentioned in my course – the ability to search code by programming language using specialty search engines like,,, etc. Though email addresses are often omitted, you’ve got the name and enough other tidbits to track them down. And in the case of sites where you can use regular expressions in combination with language, type of license, etc., you can even just search for open source code samples that contain email addresses (for example, [A-Z0-9._%+-]+@[A-Z0-9.-]+\.[A-Z]{2,4} lang:ruby license:gpl would be a valid string to run on So now we’re up to 12 methods, but yours should be at the top of the list!

    4. Steve Levy on September 11th, 2008 4:37 pm

      GG- Nice chat and congrats on the great career move. Let’s try for Lucky 13…

      IMO, the most important skill for a developer is architecture abilities. What’s the point of coding if it looks like word salad. It’s like someone who knows how to use all the hand and power tools available in the hardware store but can’t use them in unison to build a house.

      All programs are modular: Security, authentication, parsing, etc. Within your company or for your client, get the names of these modules and search on these, especially in forums, groups, and blogs.

    5. Steve on September 14th, 2008 9:21 am


      Here’s the original email I sent to the 75 developers whose open source modules were incorporated into my client’s product: 100% positive response and the beginning of a relationship…


      There is nothing more to this email than a simple “thank you” for being a valuable member of the Perl community as well as an indirect member of the COMPANYNAME family.


      We are using your NAME-VERSION Perl module in our NAME product and without your effort, we’re pretty sure our database management application wouldn’t be as great as it is. I hope others have offered you this type of feedback but if not, well, shame on them.

      And if you’re ever in the New York City area, please feel free to come by; there aren’t too many pure Perl commercial development shops in this area and we always enjoy meeting other aficionados of Larry Wall’s child (I have no idea if he refers to Perl as his “child”).

      Happy Holidays


      Hardly any OS user thanks thanks the people who developed the code. Shame on them. Shame on the recruiters for not internalizing this as their own goal…