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The Ecclesiastes principle: Learning lessons of the past


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We in the technology world often feel that what we're doing is *so* new, we don't have anything to learn from those who went before. And yet, wherever we look, we catch glimpses of wisdom learned in the past which can be applied to open source software development. Dave presents examples from three areas: city planning, architecture and diplomacy, and shows how they apply to the open source world.

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The Ecclesiastes principle: Learning lessons of the past

  1. 1. The Ecclesiastes principle Learning the lessons of the past Dave Neary, Red Hat / @nearyd
  2. 2. Ecclesiastes 1:9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
  3. 3. The Great Frontier
  4. 4. 3 examples Architecture City planning Diplomacy
  5. 5. Community intimacy gradient ● Public: Forum, public mailing list, ... ● Semi-public: IRC, blog comments, ... ● ● Semi-private: Moderated mailing list, invitation-only IRC channel, BOFs/meetups, ... Private: Private email, phone, face to face
  6. 6. Mixed Uses
  7. 7. Professional Amateur
  8. 8. The projects that have been the most successful... are good at all sorts of “soft skills” David Eaves
  9. 9. Harvard Negotiation Project ● ● Founded in 1970s Been used in international peace negotiations, business negotiations, ...
  10. 10. A typical “negotiation” I'll give you 40 for it 40? It cost me more! I'll give it to you for 70. You're joking! I'll give you 50, not a penny more! You're a good customer, I could go to 60, not a penny less I can go to 53, but that's all the cash I have with me
  11. 11. Negotiation overview Relationship Communication Interests Discussion space Options Legitimacy
  12. 12. Negotiations in Open Source ● Mailing list discussions ● Bug report closed as “Not a bug” and reopened ● Patch review ● Feature priority ● Conflict resolution
  13. 13. Thank you! Photo credits: Slide 1: CC by-sa 2.0 by doratagold on Flickr Slide 3: Public domain Slides 6-8: “A Pattern Language”, Alexander et al Slide 12: “The Death and Life if Great American Cities”, Jacobs Slide 13: CC by-sa 3.0 by revizionist on Wikipedia Slide 15: Public domain Slide 16: CC by 2.0. Pencil by taylor.a on flickr, Cassette by victoradrianramia on flickr Slide 18: © David Eaves