Jason Ryan sent me a link to his quick write up about the article for dwm, an early window manager, being flagged for removal under Wikipedia’s guidelines for notability. The notice appears to have gone up just within the past day or two. Sifting through the talk page for the proposed deletion is informative, even after factoring out the inevitable trolling and meat puppetry.
The main problem is that most free software and open source projects never get significant coverage by the kinds of sources Wikipedia would like to consider. It doesn’t mean those projects haven’t made significant contributions to software as a whole or the underlying computer science. According to the commenters on the deletion notice, dwm pioneered a particular technique for laying out out program windows that was directly adopted by many subsequent projects.
I don’t think it would be hard to come up with exceptional rules for free software and open source projects based on availability of sources, depth of version control history, or any number of other metrics in terms of adoption and support. However, how do you sustain this sort of exceptionalism for the next article representing a class of things for which the notability guidelines so thoroughly fail.
I don’t know the answer to this conundrum but I also have to wonder how widespread this problem is. I suspect that the frequency of such deletions may be small enough for the time being that the case-by-case deliberation may work just fine. I’d like to see a broader analysis before I agree with the practical need for exceptions or even more systemic changes to Wikipedia’s guidelines, as much as I agree with the objections in this case solely on principle.