Open Source is People


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Open Source is People
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Novotny, Sarah
Novotny, Sarah
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FOSS4G, Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo)
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Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo)
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Portland, Oregon, United States of America

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Keynote Speech, FOSS4G 2014, Portland, Oregon.
big data
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Point (geometry) Onlinecommunity Implementation Server (computing) Open source Code State of matter Scientific modelling Decision theory Multiplication sign Mereology Food energy Rule of inference Number Formal language Revision control Strategy game Lecture/Conference Core dump Authorization Data conversion Collaborationism Spacetime Process (computing) Information Software developer Projective plane Moment (mathematics) Fitness function Bit Set (mathematics) Limit (category theory) Arithmetic mean Computer animation Module (mathematics) Dependent and independent variables Quicksort
good morning yeah good morning can you hear me as a bit of a loss of of of it the money I as there this guy had I been working in open source in using a spot for better than 15 probably closer to 20 years now and i currently work for so I will I get you just a nominal tiny little bit about that so who knows of engine acts hands up excellent and I love the fear that he who uses engine next OK good and how many of you knew there was actually a company related to engine acts as well yeah I'm over to applied and the mentalist I get to say things like it turns out we have a company anyway I we do more than just web service in and out load balancing it does running proxy also intercept here more questions about Internet feel free to ask me at some point but that's not at all what this talk is about they also do work in ask on and as it turns out since you all are familiar with Portland in the OCC you should try to come back here next to lie between the 20th and 20 4th when we will be hosting our 17 of upon but I'm not and so I really love working with technology in working with people in technology as it turns out I'm lucky in that not only do I enjoyed tack but I enjoy working with people and as Stiles said you'll
have to forgive me my 1st real open source community was my SQL and I found a home there that I didn't know existed open source for me when I was back at that little bookstore in Seattle in the late nineties was a tool to use to make the Internet run it ran all of ML systems around all of our on authentication systems around lots and lots of the infrastructure of this little webstore where the bookstore the and I recognize that as a consumer and use it as a consumer I didn't understand the broader societal implications or even how to contribute to it if it wasn't for many years until I found a minus q all community that I understood how I could get back to it and what open source really really meant so
over the years evolves of my engagement with open source and also how I have I been able to help others find that space so let's start 1st against sometime in there with definitions so what is open source software and then more specifically free software
open source software and open source projects which I think are all very different things so the Open Source Initiative has a really good definition of open source software and it contains 4 components in order to be defined as open source software has to be freely to redistributable which just means you need an internet or a floppy disk and that enable days or a CD-ROM or USB sticks now you can move these files around it is the source code that you moving generally and of course it allows derived works you can change it this is the part where people get involved and where people are really what make open source and it has to be licensed so 1 of the challenges that we've seen in open source over the last 3 to 5 years as it has become more the default as opposed to the destructive up stock of commercial software is that people think it they put a piece of code on on the web it's open source software it's not it has to be licensed in as we actually see more and more corporations adopt open source and want to encourage more and more corporations to adopt open source they are becoming more and more careful about licensing their our services and companies that are evolving in the ecosystem around making sure that these larger companies are actually staying with analyzes compliance so making sure that you have license compliance is important and as you put those little snippets of something up sticker lessons on put it on a library even if it's you know 10 lines of code give it some sort of a license did hubs proliferation has been a challenge for this because a lot of people put code up and get out without a license so in 2000 that's a good hub launched the choose a license project and has spent a lot of time promoting the fact that you need to choose a license and actually put it licenses on open source now I suspect that many of you know all of this if not explicitly you know this implicitly but I'm trying to make it explicit so that you remember always if you put a piece of code on the web to put a license not a lawyer I don't suggest what license find the 1 that fits for you this is a great reference for what your choices are for licenses and what the benefits and drawbacks are the very personal and or corporate decision as to how you want to engage with best the licenses remain important so we have this this base definition of free and open-source software so comedy people think that that's the end of it that's that's the end of well if it were the end of it it would be the end of my talk now when it turns out that they still no it's not we'll lovely definition for what open source software it's but I would argue that while velocity opens + source code plus Lacy's gives us free and open source free and open source software there's really something missing this is the part where it's like where you can say that construction is all about the trees that would have been buildings building skyscrapers is all about the trees with the tools and it's an important tool but it's not really what it is so I would argue that we have a philosophy + source + license plus people that actually make an open source project so the community and the people that are contributing and improving and growing the source growing usage growing in the broader adoption of the code only really what makes and differentiates open source software from open source projects and open source communities more broadly so this is this the being the benefit of these projects there are lots of little libraries that you've never heard of that are open source software but these big projects have communities of users communities of documenters communities of developers they have free and open and transparent governance processes they have free open and transparent discussions if you get a little feisty sometimes sometimes it's happy and good but it's really about the software plus the people yeah lots of engineers it matters a whole lot easier and computers are a whole lot easier to deal with then people the so while you may have business people who find this terribly confusing I think a lot of engineers tend to find interacting with people and muddier space there to be more complicated and harder to deal with you have trolls how do you handle a community that has people engaging in offensive abrasive manners and intentionally or unintentionally trolls I think can be either an end on forbid those false start talking to the business people this ends up being a arrested communities and you have to sit and understand and try to find ways within these communities to grow what are what helps the bad the communities move forward which was very very succinctly and wonderfully written by then Colin Sussman and Brian Fitzpatrick who came up with the shorthand for this interacting with people and the underpinnings for geeks as to how to work with people and they summarize this is part of HRT how many of you have read this book a of this book you know nobody excellent you have a homework assignment that the HRT is 1 of the things in this fantastic book the ban on buying have both worked at Google and manage large seems at Google and brought together their philosophy around managing teams now they also have worked on piles of open source projects and work and so this fits very well with the open-source ethers and philosophy the H. T. stands for humility respect and trust and these are the 3 core components of interacting with people in an open and transparent manner trying to avoid trolling trying to meet people where they
are in or in an organization on a project meeting people at their skill level at the social skill level the technical skill of a social skill level there on the Introduction to the Philosophy into Introduction to this and soon to say theology it kind of this the open source can be considered a religion by many out but these H T just the 3 simple words word words of humility respect and trust in their engagements with people lead to some really interesting cultural implications for open source community 1st there explicit goals generally and these are the their explicit goals generally of non-discrimination now this is very clearly on and almost dogmatically represented with open Source trying very
hard and very loudly to have for their engagement with minorities and women as well as being open to new i and starting to embrace not every community does it well the started to embrace people who have skills other than strictly building code the so you want to make sure that you have with your communities and support both verbally with language that suggests that you are on that you have cultural norms but you also want to support it through actions you end up with cultural implications of learning and teaching how many people spend time on IRC channels trying to people any of you yes some of it good mailing lists the same thing on instant messenger anymore on 1 of the biggest benefits of open source is that transparent flow of ideas and sharing through documentation learning and teaching collaboration is another 1 again with the IRC and mailing lists and trying to work with peers as well as people that you can learn from is meant wars and people that you can and Torres well self-reliance how many people have ever gotten RTF and back when someone answer so there are a few of you the so self-reliance is 1 of the things that talk is talking open source and if you don't have the future you need in an open source project let's see if we can build an amendments send it and as a pact if you don't have there's apart you how to fix it fix it and send it and if there's a challenge you have or problem or an error and you don't know how to fix it find and take the initiative to go interact with the community to actually get an answer in some way this is all teaching self-reliance and Imperial I suspect many of you come out of academia so you're familiar with peer-review but as you applied humility respect and trust across all of these called cultural implications you see a very healthy growth of community that allows for this teaching and learning culture collaboration with peers as well as building an underpinning a expansive philosophy trying to share this information share the benefits of the philosophy as well as the source code while learning yourself continuing to grow and continuing to contribute back but all eternity secret I didn't mention it here anywhere that open source software is free this is not 1 of the things that I spend time talking about especially when I'm talking to business people because open source software is not free here you don't get
to take it implemented and have it 1 have it stay have it to have it be just the I would have bought a very large commercial product but no I'm going to use this open source project and now there's nothing more I need to do I don't have to interact with 1 if anyone I don't have to do is support on it turns out it's not match magic there are a lot of I would say people of 3 to 5 years ago were more confused about this than they are now even as larger scale enterprises are bringing in more and more free software today they're starting to recognize that free software doesn't need free like appears it means when 1 free like a puppy any here's a puppy here's your shots of espresso before and it's really the puppy you have to walk it you have to engage the community have to be able to see that and care for it and you have to be able to I use it support it and make sure that it is properly installed supported managed I'm I'm engaged fits services need all of these things into really it takes work and it takes work in the same way commercial software does but with all of those cultural implications your learning and teaching more your growing and adapting the code base you you're able to adjust it in a way that fits your business for your project instead of having to write this terrible bolt-on work-arounds so free like a puppy really means that you get to continue to broaden rocket and feed itself you're learning a new product and new piece of software you use it you find out what's wrong with it for your use case were generically and through all sorts of ways documentation bug reports and or code patches you can improve it and then you rinse and repeat so this is free like a puppy and at the center of it is you this is why happy say fundamentally open source is people it isn't about just the bits and how better transfer and whether the bits are licensed and whether or not you can change the it's actually about changing them and about changing the
world around you in order to make it a better place where it the world might be this piece of software the way it integrates with your with your products you work community around you your own personal or professional growth of all of these things are the way that open source software continues to improve you through this process of learning using in improving yeah OK so this a lot of this is that philosophy rate the I have sort of preach to the choir for because many of you you given that this is an open-source conference may have actually heard of all of us so I don't care anyone they don't care about when it's good for you and this may seem really simplistic but this is good for you as an it's good for your company as a corporate entity it it turns out it's good for the world I'm not anti-corporate by any stretch and way more of an open source parameters and I and ii document astern opportunist but the it's good for you and benefits and I'm all for finding the way that everyone benefits in a situation I'm a firm believer in the win when so it's good for you like vitamins it will make you grow taller you will be stronger it will be also because you are the communities you all are what is making this software it it the software is in the end goal OK it is for the business side although not necessarily an open-source software as it is at the end goal for this inside but you or the community you are forging connections you are building your interactions in the world this is a book graph plot of mine linked in connections and Dell had mentioned that once upon a time we worked at this very large bookstore on the web and that is in this sort of middle right quadrant there's a dark blue and a little gray I can distinctly distinguish which is the core of this which is the I T. groups from Amazon and which is the customer support group that I worked with and hands-on over on the far left is pink and that's my SQL community on I have the O'Reilly community in the middle and orange and then I have most of the Seattle start-up community because I worked with blue gecko supporting lots and lots of start in greed so what we see is how interacting with these different communities actually benefits you in ways that you can reach out to other people who have different and complementary skill sets in order to make the world better down I see each other once every couple of years and it's always fun to catch up but I would never have submitted to talk about community to for this isn't a community by this is a community that can benefit from what I hope can benefit from what I have to say so growing and this gives you professional growth opportunities yeah the knowledge work is different fundamentally different so how many of you have had a boss walking when doing something like that so sometimes I like thinking then about what's in and says worldwide what are you doing but it turns out in knowledge work you can spend a lot of time doing that and that's work I am trying to figure out a data structure for something or I'm thinking through mining town you know what I'm going to do for the next talk I'm letting an outline in my head and this is this is a hard thing to explain as we move culturally in organizations from a more as an adolescent structure of command and control to or more and I will go out on a limb here evolved structure that is based more on community and on the fundamentals of HR treat it t milady respect and trust when I have built teams I generally try to hire people they're smarter than me every which way I can't because I will learn from them I will be able to offer them 1 skill set but are still sets are complementary and so being able to evolve in knowledge work this way and be able to say we have we cover a much broader area of content and and specialty by having people who are smarter than needs murdered menu in different complementary areas build a community now that community doesn't just have to be around open source that community can be in your own organizations that community on a soccer field doesn't matter but knowledge workers different knowledge work is about thinking and about finding the right people at the right moment to think about the right things but these cultural implications candidate implemented inside businesses inside communities as imperatives as opposed to just being implicit you can make them explicit you know that was goals of non-discrimination you can have explicit learning and teaching Goals you can have explicit collaboration Goals and you can focus on reliance peer self-reliance and peer review all of these things it turned out to have really nice clean think the cleaning out the of but that were written that word go they have cleaned coals that can be tied to rewards for the business so non discrimination can give University of thought when was the last time we try to solve a problem when you call someone who follow exactly the same way you did or even just nearly in my best friend you always agree with me let's talk about this that's not the person called me when you're trying to tackle hard problem learning and teaching means that you have minimal teams I've had in terms that work for me that have taught me amazing things and that's is empowering for then humbling fermi and a really good for everyone I learn something new the business moves the or forward and you're able to have someone who is your own learning understanding that there is always this complementary skill set collaboration gives us a path to no single points of failure if everyone can has some passing familiarity this is not to say everyone can do every job but if you collaborate and work on things together then you have enough passing familiarity as people that you don't end up with a bus factor 1 on any sort of I'm component of your project be it open source project work project whatever and self-reliance teachers independence independence is good independence and empowerment go together to make the whole company move forward a whole lot faster and peer-review when done through the lens of HRT the gives lots and lots of underpinnings to all of this it can also be used as a cudgel and that's not the kind of thing I'm talking about I'm sure that they're infographics out there the that show us this as rewards for companies and businesses but I'm in of
communities and I'm thinking communities in a very broad sense meaning your team at work your open source community your the family community beyond that these are things that apply broadly 2 groups of people this isn't a space where you can only focus this these skills and these imperatives on a single facet of your life the contributing back to open-source specifically times back to bubble open source community Thank gives you many many ways for a long time I got asked question of how do you contribute you're not a coder I was in grew out of operations so to San coder is really a stretch but at best I can cargo cult and write really terrible stuff that no 1 should ever run in production that said there are many many ways to contribute to communities it's not strictly people who can write you know C code C + + code Perl Java script I find HTML all of these things it's not that's not the only way to contribute to open source communities there are many and in the area my 1st experiences were actually sharing case studies of how minuscule is used and apologize again of homeless fuel is used within the core of with in my client base going out in speaking to my school audiences who wanted to understand what happened when you put 200 20 servers into a replication right I wouldn't recommend but you can give talks about your experiences you can contribute to documentation you can find bugs in right good reproducible bug reports none of this requires strictly coding since most of your coders I suspect most of your contribution is more on the cold side you too can do all of this other stuff which helps enable the community to adopt a project more broadly to make use of it a piece of software that has a license attached to it that is thrown over the wall does not necessarily get adoption and if it does get adoption it's in spite of the fact it's open source in the description as opposed to because it's open source if it isn't supported if it is a document it if it is it doesn't have a burgeoning Core community that wants to make changes around it then adoption is a much slower process I made this mistake in 2002 there was I had my seem right an extension to non US for monitoring all sorts of different databases and we said this is open source rubber-stamped here's the license and we announced the it was a lot like a Google project we were engineers we announced that they will call the but they didn't we didn't build the community we didn't try to foster mailing list conversations we didn't get 5 friends to install it and give us feedback on it we kind of threw it over the wall and said her right we have made open source and to the best of my knowledge it died it isn't as simple as making sure that you have the right code can be perfect code it can be a better product and if you aren't engaging people and working with a community in developing the community and trying to engage with them as humans with problems trying to solve their problems in a way that is beneficial to everyone you don't have a full open source project yeah so I would go back to this the point that I was making philosophy of open source + source plus a license + HRT humility respect and trust actually brings us to a false project and projects are the things that sustainable people are what actually bring us open source so I would say put your heart into it is and if we have time I'm going to take questions if it you might think that a question it summons clean no OK the that was so purposefully things going for like acoustical has become the migration and to sort of of do these results of people what life I don't know this analytical people kind hard to see this energy that 0 you have a question not just leave not only had just judges thank you for the unit mentioned at the end of the project they just open source and did not become a sustainable project in Canada so I if you have several things you're thrown out there he said madam open-source at his side which run the spend all their time on building community that you measure journalist and so to speak the so how do you pick which open source if you have lots of upper options I tend to look at that from a few matrix I I look at it as things that I know I will have an ongoing interest to maintain so I don't say well this is done and I put it out as open source and that's not how I would recommend anyone do it so I want to see people that are going to continue to work on develop and draw benefit from this code before they try to turn it into a project and build a community around I'm so open source is never done and that is 1 of the things that is both super also super scary about it is there will always grow here's open-source project will always grow and it will often grow in ways that you didn't expect but if you see something that you know you're going to want to maintain its really good enough state that you might be using it in I'm in a warrior in pre-production production and are looking to drop more perspectives and looking to draw more on feature ideas find more ways that it might be extended to the growth in someone else's organization and you think it is more broadly are useful to people I think those are a sort of the components that it would look to how do you measure the success of that in the growth of that i the depends on the community so I know a lot of communities that are on number of contributors and I know a lot of communities that I that measure how old they are yeah but how successful they are based on the number of users on installed base so it also depends on whether or not you want to have more of a user community or more of a developer community so the more the user community is much more on adjacent to model of commercial software so I will build it we will benevolent benevolently dictate with the feature set is and you will all use it and it will be awesome of those are the those are projects that take fewer user contributions for the codebase but are more aggressive in supporting the user or promote the community I engagement in a way that grows the use effects there are also like OpenStack
being on an example of a project or a set of projects at this point that measures more based on a contributor base so they want lots of people contributing to it and that has benefits and drawbacks as well the more questions after another what strategy is doing is to encourage and facilitate HRT limit trolls learning you know the debate you so I am very much someone who leads through example as opposed to an example and collaboration as opposed to command and control and this comes from years of open source community work this comes from years of profit work as well because managing volunteers however you want to find volunteers look very different from managing someone who is motivated by paycheck so within teams even teams where I'm paid someone for their contributions I still tend to be on be very open and transparent and engage with people in a way that represents those uh those core values of humility respect and trust as well as being explicit about it so I explicitly say these are your decisions here's how I would look at so I do a lot of pushing decision-making downward and responsibility and authority down hard and making sure that people feel empowered and being explicit about these goals on as and values for the the company and for the team so that as we talk about it we have implementation we have common shared language and any time you find yourself in conflict with that it's a great opportunity to go back to the core values either through an example or explicit conversation about it so it's a very iterative process and very much like managing volunteers as opposed to well I'm energies of pain contributors yes that's what the and that they are but it that is a government agency go about looking for the open-source foundations how the government into go about looking for an open source Foundation Foundation on foundations of irony interestingly from sites that in this so I guess I would have to ask what what you want a foundation of what you want information to do for you why do you think the government should look for a foundation the and the and that's when numerous commune but that also again so the foundations are generally built to govern specific projects so n when you say government looking for a foundation I was interpreting like why would the US government go look for an open-source foundations want indistinguishable would be your state for project why would you go to a a foundation OK so you have a little project that has a great big user community and you've reached a point where you need to be taking money to support further activities or you needs to on send out money for some sort of activities those are moments when I think most projects start to look for foundations the alternate space is if you want to have a governing model that is more codified van simply you know we are the people that are explicitly called out as having you commit authority or being able to make our releases so when a project goes looking for a foundation it more often than not has to do with the money and making up codified explicit set of rules for the community and those rules are the or those rules are often come about money is how it ends up now finding the right fit is a whole different question because finding the right fit of 80 on brawler foundation that might be able to help you so do you want to become an Apache project for example is to the really about the fit of the community what are what are your project schools what are your on short-term and long-term intents with that do you want to be more of a user community you want to be more of a developer community do you want to run a pile of conferences are you out in and expand on and on trying to bring lots of people in ending what roles and so choosing a foundation for an umbrella foundation or choosing to set up a foundation is something that I think of as a intermediate stage question is not something I would start with on its when things tend to get a little bit unwieldy that people go talk about a foundation I think there's a rush to foundations right now I'm as people are trying to build they're they're overreaching where they are and thinking that they want to solve problems they don't yet have so I think it's a it's a very complicated and very on individual sort of problem for a project next I Anjanette's community OK I got that could I could I talk more about the Internext meaning of it so the engine next community is very much a user community at this point there's a very small number of of core contributors most of them actually work for engine exceed at this point there's probably the same number that work for us that regularly commit into the core project on hand most of our community is a user community it's been very very loosely coupled through our documentation primarily in the space that was the lever for the community early on was translating the documentation because in 2004 when the 1st version of the server was released it was released the documentation only in Russian and that took a very long time before it ended up being many more languages english of course dealing with Frank have a tag is not where we started we started with documentation Russian so the user community banded around this is clearly superior technology and I read the code and this makes sense but there's no real documentation there's not a real easy on ran for other people to make use of it so that's where the community rallied 1st was the user space as well as documentation space and then from there there have been some models built on top of that so there's a relatively robust model community that is building compiled and models but I think that is 1 of the spots where we are limited in our own growth and it's something that we're working on internally to determine if we can get to a stable API so that we can make up making our part of the whole models to get us further so we can actually do outreach to the community that doesn't require recompiling our own and you next with the third-party modules in the so this point where very user based community and we want to get to a space where we have more ecosystem around the developer and that looks like it might you mean but they get update thank you all very much have a good rest of your conference


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