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Abstract

QGIS started back in 2002 as a simple hobby project with only a handful of developers and a small user base. Since then, it has grown into one of the most popular cross-platform open source spatial desktop tools available, with an ever-growing developer and user base, widely used in many sectors, even as a full replacement for commercial offerings. This growth has not come without cost or growing pains to the project and community. A growing user base and an ongoing effort to be taken as a serious alternative to commercial offerings have led to a shift in developer and user expectations for the project. As QGIS has grown into areas and user bases the early developers never dreamed of, some of the feelings the project had have changed, and this might have zapped some of the fun. Was this inevitable, as we pushed the project with more and more features and promotion in the spatial community? How do you maintain the same feel for the project, while at the same time becoming more serious? What about the users and the community? Have their expectations now changed for the project? At what point did we notice a change in the community and the levels of service we were required to live up to? Long-term-release, better build process, better documentation, UI translations into many languages; these all make great software, but at a cost for a mostly volunteer-run project. When does the project switch from pure volunteer to a more commercial entity?