Problems of small opensource projects

Being Java developer and fan of OpenSource I am writing lots of stuff. Mostly for myself, tools that I am missing or to get some experience with something. But of course there are projects that I think others will like and use if they will know more about it. Few examples:
  • Once I wrote small tool for Swing apps to choose LookAndFeel in runtime. It was JLAFChooser and I hoped it will become popular very soon. But days passed and downloads count was small. I thought that mostly it's downloaded by different search engines, nobody cares about it. And I just forgot about it, didn't planned to make it better. Download rate is about 1.001 per day. No bugs, no feature requests, no thanx or private mails. Nothing. Maybe this project had it's future, but now it's as good as dead. And even java.net registration did nothing to improve the situation.
  • Then came p4nb. I did it for myself anyway, I am still using it at work because it's the best available Perforce plugin for NetBeans IDE. It's just enough for me. And nobody cares. Looks like nobody using NetBeans and Perforce at once. I can implement vast amount of features, including changes browsing, changelist management and many other. But I have more interesting projects for myself, and nobody else asks for it. Why should I do it?
You will ask what's the point of that moaning? But the point is, once one guy mailed me with words like "hey, I added few features to your p4nb plugin, maybe you need it?". That day I understood that I am not the only user of that plugin, there are at least another man using it. It was the new beginning for p4nb, it got completely rewritten with new and better feature set and better usability. And then it was forgotten again, because all users were glad with what they had, no bugs and no change requests fired.
Today I got a mail from one guy who is using JLAFChooser, he asked about launching it from Java WebStart. Of course I answered him, but why so late? I have no interest in that peace of software now, and I will not get back to it's development. It's dead for me, because no one really needed it when it was interesting for me.
  1. How many projects died like this? What kind of project they were, maybe we lost something really interesting?
  2. What should I do to prevent it in future? Post to slashdot? Buy Google Ads? Tell me what I did wrong to fix it in future.
Thanx for your attention, and I hope this post will not be just ignored in the same sad manner.

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