Lars Kurth
Director, Open Source, Citrix
Community Manger, Xen Project lars_kurth
Was a contributor to various projects
Worked in parallel computing, tools,
mobile and now virtualization
Long history in c...
0
50000
100000
150000
200000
250000
2006 2008 2010 2012 2014
Projected
Source: The 2013 Future of Open Source Survey Resul...
Late 90’s
Today
Individuals & Hobbyist's Still about Individuals
But, a majority are employees
Companies have a huge stake
and pressure to succeed
Features
How many users you have
How many vendors back you
How you are seen in the press
…
Different Management
Disciplines
In many areas
Case Study
An Open Source Hypervisor
> 10M Users
Powering some of the biggest Clouds in Production
Amazon Web Services, Rackspace Pub...
Fixes that were applied
(there may be others)
Effect this had
Symptoms Consequences for Xen
Four Key Issues
At the end : R...
Unwritten Rules
Undefined Roles
Lack of Upfront
Collaboration
Hard to join the project
Vendors got frustrated
Hard to work with the
project
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Developer list traffic : Q3 2003 - now
Xen
Governance
Canonical dro...
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
90%
100%
2010 2011 2012 2013 (H1)
UPC Spectra Logic Redhat iweb
GridCentric Calxeda Fuj...
Inwards focus
– Not working with upstreams
(branched kernel and QEMU)
– Not working with distros
(users are not “our” prob...
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Developer list traffic : Q3 2003 - now
IBM, VMware, Red Hat and Cit...
Improved Relationships & Trust
Xen Developers Care about Users
Xen becoming easier to use
Improved Image in the media and ...
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Developer list traffic : Q3 2003 - now
Focus on events for the exis...
Project became an “invisible man”
Belief that Xen is not open source
Slowed the growth of the user base
Perception: the pr...
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Developer list traffic : Q3 2003 - now
Confidence Building
Communit...
Project perception has changed
Neutral to positive
No more “Xen is not OSS / Xen is Dead”
New influx of people to the proj...
CompaniesCommunity
Governance Matters
Projects don’t exist in isolation
Poor Marketing and Communication can kill you
Good project sponsors c...
Multi-discipline Complexity
Follow Industry News
Follow Project News
Adopt Software
Engage with Users
Trial Software
Engage with Industry
Evangelize
C...
Follow Industry News
Follow Project News
Adopt Software
Engage with Users
Trial Software
Engage with Industry
Evangelize
C...
Follow Industry News
Follow Project News
Adopt Software
Engage with Users
Trial Software
Engage with Industry
Evangelize
C...
Follow Industry News
Follow Project News
Adopt Software
Engage with Users
Trial Software
Engage with Industry
Evangelize
C...
The Community Funnel is an excellent internal sales tool
Reason: Sales and Business people understand funnels
It helps you...
Follow Industry News
Follow Project News
Adopt Software
Engage with Users
Trial Software
Engage with Industry
Evangelize
C...
Follow Industry News
Follow Project News
Adopt Software
Engage with Users
Trial Software
Engage with Industry
Evangelize
C...
To succeed, a wide range of “community” and
“management” tools
need to be applied continuously
Please rate the talk!
Flickr:
“Messy Apartment” by Ryo Chijiiwa
“The Ivory Tower” by Daniel Parks
“Desert Road 9” by LabyrinthX
Other Images:
By...
OSCON 2013: "Case Study: What to do when your project outgrows your company"
OSCON 2013: "Case Study: What to do when your project outgrows your company"
OSCON 2013: "Case Study: What to do when your project outgrows your company"
OSCON 2013: "Case Study: What to do when your project outgrows your company"
OSCON 2013: "Case Study: What to do when your project outgrows your company"
OSCON 2013: "Case Study: What to do when your project outgrows your company"
OSCON 2013: "Case Study: What to do when your project outgrows your company"
OSCON 2013: "Case Study: What to do when your project outgrows your company"
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OSCON 2013: "Case Study: What to do when your project outgrows your company"

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In the last decade, the open source development model has been extraordinarily successful. However, this success came at a cost. Today, we are experiencing an explosion of open source projects, escalating competition amongst projects, and commercial interests driving projects at an ever increasing rate. To succeed in the long run, open source projects need to employ a set of management techniques to overcome these issues.

To illustrate how this is accomplished, we will draw on the 10 year history of the Xen project as a case study. Xen started in 2003 with strong university roots, quickly evolving into a thriving code-centric project with a development culture very similar to the Linux kernel. The project was instrumental in creating the cloud computing space as we know it today. Large companies such as Amazon, Citrix, and Rackspace, as well as many others, were able to build thriving businesses using open source Xen. Yet five years later, the project started struggling in multiple areas: it failed to engage its user base, becoming inward focused, and suffering from fragmentation caused by pressure from commercial interests. As a result, Xen lost the support of a number of key Linux distributions. Xen started to be perceived as old and outdated, despite a swelling user base, a growing and diversifying contributor community, an increasing number of Xen-based commercial solutions, and numerous Xen-powered open source projects. Some onlookers even predicted the imminent demise of the project. The project clearly had an image problem, which could have become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But, because of a program of cultural change initiated 2 years ago, the Xen project of 2013 is no longer crippled by the problems which nearly caused its downfall. We will explore the causes of the issues which arose, highlighting mistakes that were made, and revealing their effect on the community.

We will also show how almost any issue that threatens the success of an open source project can be addressed using a combination of good community management, excellent collaboration infrastructure, wise marketing, and good governance to align the interests of a project’s stake-holders. By employing each of these techniques in a complementary fashion, we can ensure the long-term success of a project.

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OSCON 2013: "Case Study: What to do when your project outgrows your company"

  1. 1. Lars Kurth Director, Open Source, Citrix Community Manger, Xen Project lars_kurth
  2. 2. Was a contributor to various projects Worked in parallel computing, tools, mobile and now virtualization Long history in change projects Community guy at Symbian Foundation Learned how NOT to do stuff Community guy for the Xen Project Working for Citrix Accountable to Xen Project Advisory Board
  3. 3. 0 50000 100000 150000 200000 250000 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 Projected Source: The 2013 Future of Open Source Survey Results More than 1 Projects Million Today
  4. 4. Late 90’s Today Individuals & Hobbyist's Still about Individuals But, a majority are employees Companies have a huge stake
  5. 5. and pressure to succeed
  6. 6. Features How many users you have How many vendors back you How you are seen in the press … Different Management Disciplines
  7. 7. In many areas
  8. 8. Case Study
  9. 9. An Open Source Hypervisor > 10M Users Powering some of the biggest Clouds in Production Amazon Web Services, Rackspace Public Cloud, Terremark, … Several sub-projects Xen Hypervisor, XAPI management tools, Mirage OS, Mobile Hypervisor Linux Foundation Collaborative Project Sponsored by Amazon Web Services, AMD, Bromium, Calxeda, CA Technologies, Cisco, Citrix, Google, Intel, NetApp, Oracle, Samsung and Verizon 10 years old
  10. 10. Fixes that were applied (there may be others) Effect this had Symptoms Consequences for Xen Four Key Issues At the end : Reflection & Tools
  11. 11. Unwritten Rules Undefined Roles Lack of Upfront Collaboration
  12. 12. Hard to join the project Vendors got frustrated Hard to work with the project
  13. 13. 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Developer list traffic : Q3 2003 - now Xen Governance Canonical drops Xen RedHat drops Xen in RHEL6 Roadmap & Release Management Another key vendor nearly dropped Xen Technical Coordination Team 1st KVM release Growth potential was limited early Xen becomes LF Collaborative Project
  14. 14. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 2010 2011 2012 2013 (H1) UPC Spectra Logic Redhat iweb GridCentric Calxeda Fujitsu (Misc) AWS (Academia) John Hopkins University AMD Linaro Oracle NSA Intel
  15. 15. Inwards focus – Not working with upstreams (branched kernel and QEMU) – Not working with distros (users are not “our” problem) Created “pain for distros” Intercommunity Friction Introvert Community Image Problem
  16. 16. 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Developer list traffic : Q3 2003 - now IBM, VMware, Red Hat and Citrix Agree on PVOPS in Linux kernel Linux Guest support for Xen Linux Host support for Xen Upstream QEMU complete Actively working with distros
  17. 17. Improved Relationships & Trust Xen Developers Care about Users Xen becoming easier to use Improved Image in the media and FOSS community
  18. 18. 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Developer list traffic : Q3 2003 - now Focus on events for the existing community only Enough Papers Enough Talks Enough Communication By enough vendors Xen Books Competing Projects Excelled at Communication Change of Guard Empty Promises Blog 1 Person
  19. 19. Project became an “invisible man” Belief that Xen is not open source Slowed the growth of the user base Perception: the project is “dead” Constant stories in the press that the project is dying First: Defiance – this is all “Fud” Then: Project started to believe this too
  20. 20. 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Developer list traffic : Q3 2003 - now Confidence Building Community Blog Events v2 Community spokespeople
  21. 21. Project perception has changed Neutral to positive No more “Xen is not OSS / Xen is Dead” New influx of people to the project 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 2010 2011 2012 2013 (H1) Talks / Events / Orgs
  22. 22. CompaniesCommunity
  23. 23. Governance Matters Projects don’t exist in isolation Poor Marketing and Communication can kill you Good project sponsors can make a difference A project needs to constantly evolve
  24. 24. Multi-discipline Complexity
  25. 25. Follow Industry News Follow Project News Adopt Software Engage with Users Trial Software Engage with Industry Evangelize Contribute Customize Lead Think of the funnel boundary as a permeable membrane, not a fixed border It can take >2 years for changes at the top of the funnel to make a difference at the bottom The Funnel has feedback loops: what happens at the top can affect the bottom
  26. 26. Follow Industry News Follow Project News Adopt Software Engage with Users Trial Software Engage with Industry Evangelize Contribute Customize Lead Control the permeability and shape of the funnel Activities Attributes Events Project Scope E.g. Xen on ARM, Mirage OS Increase the width and thus the potential market for the project How can we influence how the Community Funnel works? Some items are in your control Others - such as what the competition does - are not!
  27. 27. Follow Industry News Follow Project News Adopt Software Engage with Users Trial Software Engage with Industry Evangelize Contribute Customize Lead Example: Factors influencing early stages of open source software adoption Documentation Ease of Use Training On-boarding
  28. 28. Follow Industry News Follow Project News Adopt Software Engage with Users Trial Software Engage with Industry Evangelize Contribute Customize Lead More People drop out Funnel becomes narrower Negative Feedback: vendors may stop contributing Bad Press Example: Negative feedback loop
  29. 29. The Community Funnel is an excellent internal sales tool Reason: Sales and Business people understand funnels It helps you understand what is happening It helps prioritize what to focus on Covers the time dimension : some issues take longer to fix than others Forces you to consider the “Big Picture”
  30. 30. Follow Industry News Follow Project News Adopt Software Engage with Users Trial Software Engage with Industry Evangelize Contribute Customize Lead 2011 Event Presence Ease of Use Press Governance Social Media Neutrality WebSite Collaboration Values Brand Documentation Getting Started Support Volunteer Programs Community Programs Platforms for Self Promotion Business Opportunities Communication Extend Project Scope Distros Training Diversity
  31. 31. Follow Industry News Follow Project News Adopt Software Engage with Users Trial Software Engage with Industry Evangelize Contribute Customize Lead Event Presence Ease of Use Press Governance Social Media Neutrality WebSite Collaboration Values Brand Documentation Getting Started Support Volunteer Programs Community Programs Platforms for Self Promotion Communication Extend Project Scope Business Opportunities Distros Training Diversity Distros Volunteer Programs Community Programs ValuesCollaboration Ease of Use WebSite Documentation Getting Started Governance Neutrality Business Opportunities Press Social Media Brand ARM + Mirage OS Event Presence CommunicationEvent Presence Communication Diversity NOW
  32. 32. To succeed, a wide range of “community” and “management” tools need to be applied continuously
  33. 33. Please rate the talk!
  34. 34. Flickr: “Messy Apartment” by Ryo Chijiiwa “The Ivory Tower” by Daniel Parks “Desert Road 9” by LabyrinthX Other Images: By Lars Kurth Acquired from Shutterstock Xen Project: www.xenproject.org wiki.xenproject.org lists.xenproject.org xenbits.xenproject.org @xen_org ##xen Funnel: talesfromthecommunity.wordpress.com
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