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Rebuilding the cathedral
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Consider the Maintainer

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Bringing our focus back to how open source gets produced, given the dramatic increase in consumption.

From a Linux Conf Australia keynote, January 19 2017. (Video of talk: https://youtu.be/W2AR1owg0ao)

Note: this deck is slightly slimmed down from the one I used in my talk, for easier readability.

FOOTNOTES:
Slides 2, 5, 6, 9, 10: http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s/2004/08/consider_the_lobster.html
Slide 12: Arrow by Cengiz SARI, via https://thenounproject.com/
Slide 13: Netscape source: The Success of Open Source. Lodash source: https://www.npmjs.com/package/lodash
Slide 14: SourceForge source: Success of Open Source. GitHub source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GitHub#cite_note-6
Slide 15: https://peerj.com/preprints/1233.pdf
Slide 21: https://developers.slashdot.org/story/15/12/30/1611249/open-source-roles-starters-vs-maintainers
Slides 24 & 44: The Success of Open Source
Slide 25: https://medium.com/the-javascript-collection/healthy-open-source-967fa8be7951#.yl06kb15p
Slide 26: https://twitter.com/sindresorhus/status/806937150575017984
Slide 27: https://www.zdziarski.com/blog/?p=6296
Slide 30: https://medium.com/@thejameskyle/dear-javascript-7e14ffcae36c#.p9ee02mjw
Slide 31: https://twitter.com/b0neskull/status/820850697390333952
Slide 34: http://www.onlamp.com/pub/a/onlamp/2005/09/22/gpl3.html
Slide 36: https://www.debian.org/social_contract
Slide 37: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/2918
Slide 38: https://opensource.org/about
Slide 40: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.en

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Consider the Maintainer

  1. 1. @nayafia Consider the Maintainer @nayafia for linux.conf.au
  2. 2. @nayafia
  3. 3. @nayafia
  4. 4. @nayafia
  5. 5. @nayafia “Is it alright to boil a sentient creature alive just for our gustatory pleasure?” - DFW
  6. 6. @nayafia “Is it alright to boil a sentient creature alive just for our gustatory pleasure?” - DFW (“Is the previous question irksomely PC or sentimental?”)
  7. 7. @nayafia Is it alright if a project struggles or dies because the maintainer can’t keep up with it anymore?
  8. 8. @nayafia Is it alright to compromise, or even deliberately ignore, the happiness of maintainers so we that can enjoy free and open source software?
  9. 9. @nayafia “The whole animal-cruelty-and-eating issue is not just complex, it’s also uncomfortable.” - DFW
  10. 10. @nayafia “My own way of dealing with this conflict has been to avoid thinking about the whole unpleasant thing.” - DFW
  11. 11. @nayafia What, exactly, is the problem?
  12. 12. @nayafia people consuming open source
  13. 13. @nayafia Netscape browser (1998) lodash (2017) Downloads in two weeks, 20 years apart 18M180K 100x!!!
  14. 14. @nayafia SourceForge (2001) GitHub (2016) Total number of registered users 14M208K 70x!!!
  15. 15. @nayafia Two-thirds of top GitHub projects are maintained by one or two people
  16. 16. @nayafia 2000 2017 Users Maintainers
  17. 17. @nayafia 2000 2017 Users Maintainers (NOT A REAL GRAPH)
  18. 18. @nayafia Why so few maintainers?
  19. 19. @nayafia Why so few maintainers? 1. Style of production has changed (more smallish projects)
  20. 20. @nayafia Why so few maintainers? 1. Style of production has changed (more smallish projects) 2. Being a maintainer isn’t glamorous
  21. 21. @nayafia “Hardly anybody starts as a maintainer, it just creeps up on you.” Kjella, Wine AppDB
  22. 22. @nayafia 1% of people create the content that 99% consume
  23. 23. @nayafia 1% of people create the content that 99% consume 100% of maintainers are expected to respond to every issue
  24. 24. @nayafia “Rapid evolution poses the risk of overwhelming the system...thus introducing errors more quickly than the system can fix them.” Steven Weber, The Success of Open Source
  25. 25. @nayafia
  26. 26. @nayafia
  27. 27. @nayafia “Every developer (unless they’re lucky) has looked at page after page of open issues and wondered why they’re the only person working on any solutions to them.” Jonathan Zdziarski, “On the State of Open Source”
  28. 28. @nayafia
  29. 29. @nayafia
  30. 30. @nayafia “It felt like every day I had a notification waiting to be opened about how badly we had fucked up.” James Kyle, “Dear JavaScript”
  31. 31. @nayafia
  32. 32. @nayafia Why aren’t we talking about this?
  33. 33. @nayafia A trip back in history:
  34. 34. @nayafia “Our goal should be to spread freedom and then defend it. That is more important than making our software popular, which would just be catering to our egos.” Richard Stallman, “The GNU GPL is Here to Stay”
  35. 35. @nayafia Some people create software sometimes. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
  36. 36. @nayafia Debian Social Contract ● Debian will remain 100% free ● We will give back to the free software community ● We will not hide problems ● Our priorities are our users and free software (“We will be guided by the needs of our users and the free software community. We will place their interests first in our priorities.”) ● Works that do not meet our free software standards
  37. 37. @nayafia “The implication of [the ‘Open Source’] label is that we intend to convince the corporate world to adopt our way for economic, self-interested, non-ideological reasons.” Eric Raymond, “Open Source Summit”
  38. 38. @nayafia “The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a non-profit...formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community.”
  39. 39. @nayafia Both free software and open source are oriented around the user, not the producer.
  40. 40. @nayafia The four freedoms of free software ● The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose ● The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish ● The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor ● The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others
  41. 41. @nayafia The four freedoms of open source producers ● The freedom to decide who participates in your community ● The freedom to say no to contributions or requests ● The freedom to define the priorities and policies of the project ● The freedom to step down or move on from a project, temporarily or permanently
  42. 42. @nayafia Other things maintainers need help with: 1. Community best practices 2. Project analytics 3. Tools and bots 4. Conveying support status 5. Finding funding 6. Existential qs
  43. 43. @nayafia History revisited:
  44. 44. @nayafia “What is clearly missing from [Eric Raymond’s] statement, and is ultimately as important, is how those eyeballs are organized.” Steven Weber, The Success of Open Source
  45. 45. @nayafia Open source != Linux (or any other big project you can think of)
  46. 46. @nayafia This stuff is confusing!
  47. 47. @nayafia But it’s worth doing.
  48. 48. @nayafia END

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