What project do you maintain and what was your motivation for creating the project and releasing it as open source software?

In 1997 I was a computer science student in a University of Paris, and I have learnt of the legendary story about Free Software Foundation (FSF) and Linux. Notepad++ project was released as free software project in November 2003. No doubt it’s thanks to copyleft concept of FSF.

Was the project meant to solve a specific problem, or was it born out of a larger opportunity you saw?

The company I worked for used JEXT (another open source code editor in Java) as the production tool. Due to its poor performance, I began an investigation to find another solution (in C++ instead of in Java) in September 2003.

I found Scintilla, built a prototype with it, and suggested this alternative solution. However, the suggestion was rejected. I then removed the specific part and continued to develop it in my leisure time.

On the 25th November 2003 it was made available on SourceForge, hence the birth of Notepad++.

How has the project evolved since you first released it?

The beginning of Notepad++ was quiet. I have had few feature requests and I was enjoying to enhance the Notepad++’s GUI. Later due to some feature requests which were out of scope of Notepad++, the plugin system has been built. That was a further step for the development community. The localization system has come afterward and it has enlarged Notepad++’s audience.

How do you spend your time on the project? (i.e. Developing, managing the community, triaging issues, etc.)

The dev time is always the big part for me. I have spent a lot of time on the community but I realized soon that community is not manageable by only one person. Instead of trying to manage community, I guide the community by providing the infrastructure (forum, documentation, etc) and rules (workflow) to let people manage the community.

How would you describe the community around your project? What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of it?

Without Notepad++ community, Notepad++ wouldn’t become what it is today. As the initial contributor of Notepad++ project, the least favorite aspect of it for me is “you can’t do what you want, you have to response to the community”. But in the same time it’s the best aspect for the project - it keeps the project on the track.

What keeps you involved in the project? Do you have long term plans for maintaining your involvement?

Fun - not only when I’m coding it, but also when I’m doing the release notes.

Some examples:

  • x64 release : https://notepad-plus-plus.org/news/notepad-7-released.html
  • Notepad++ 666 Friday the 13th edition : https://notepad-plus-plus.org/news/notepad-666-friday-13th.html
  • Kiss my App on Black Friday : https://notepad-plus-plus.org/news/kiss-my-app-on-black-friday.html

Since I’m enjoying it, I’ll keep maintaining it except more serious event happen to me.

What is the most important thing someone submitting an issue or patch should know?

In general, respecting the coding philosophy and coding style, avoiding to do the reformatting of code will help. Make your submitting concise, straight and simple. The project managers (including me) have no time to understand others’ mysterious coding skill and coding style. They accept the understandable and efficient pull requests/patches. In order to make such pull request or patch, you have to follow their rules (and their code).

What’s your development environment right now?

Visual Studio 2013 under Windows 10 and Notepad++ (yes, I do code Notepad++ by using Notepad++ :) )

What was your first development environment? Do you miss anything from it?

Visual Studio 6 under Windows XP. Yes, I did miss a good source code editor.

Where do you see the open source software community headed?

Few years ago, open source was still “à la mode”. Now it’s almost a standard way. Though the proprietary softwares won’t disappear, more and more softwares will take open source option. The open source software community will be much larger in the future, and more accessible for sure.

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