For our June “Staff Pick” Project of the Month, the we selected git-osx-installer, a stand-alone installer for Git. git-osx-installer’s lead developer, Tim Harper, shared his thoughts about the project’s history, purpose, and direction.
SF: What made you start this?
Harper: Six years ago (or so), before Git really started to dominate the developer tool space, I wanted to get our graphic designers using Git. The biggest issue was getting Git deployed to their laptops. Installing Xcode, then building, and compiling git from source was too much work. There wasn’t an installer yet, so I saw an opportunity to contribute to a tool I loved and also solve a problem at work simultaneously; thus, the stand-alone installer was born.
SF: Has the original vision been achieved?
Harper: Yes. Since then, Apple has started to ship Git with their Xcode tools package, which is helpful. However, it’s all bundled together unfortunately, so having the stand-alone installer is a nice option for those who just want Git and don’t want to install the rest of the stuff on their laptop.
SF: Who can benefit the most from your project?
Harper: People who just want Git and don’t want the entire build-stack.
SF: What’s the best way to get the most out of using git-osx-installer?
Harper: The biggest issue I see is people don’t follow the instructions or don’t know which version to install. Because OS X versions have differed so much, I’ve had to start building versions of the installer for those who are still on old versions of Git.
SF: What has your project team done to help build and nurture your community?
Harper: We’ve provided a streamlined way for the OS X masses to install and use Git.
SF: Have you all found that more frequent releases helps build up your community of users?
Harper: People do get annoyed when the installer is significantly behind the latest release, so yes.
SF: What was the first big thing that happened for your project?
Harper: The installer just kind of took off on it’s own. I didn’t really need to market it, just let a few people know about it’s existence. Initially, I posted comments on blog articles where people described how to install git. Git-scm.com referred to the installer as the official way to get Git installed on OS X laptops and that has been good for the effort.
SF: What is the next big thing for git-osx-installer?
Harper: I plan to continue to support the project while it fulfills a need. If somebody comes along and does a better job at it, I’ll happily hand over the reigns. I just want to see Git succeed as much as possible because it truly is a marvelous tool.
SF: Do you have the resources you need to make that happen?
SF: If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently for git-osx-installer?
Harper: There was a period where I neglected the project and there were installer issues on older OS X versions; that created “bad karma” and earned the installer some one star reviews. I was quite busy with life but could have made it a priority to solve these issues earlier and help people avoid frustration.