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Revolutionary Open Source

How to change the game by helping selfish people work together on your projects.

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Revolutionary Open Source

  1. 1. Revolutionary Open SourcePieter HintjensZeroMQ.orgHow to change the game byhelping selfish people worktogether on your projects
  2. 2. Why are we here...?
  3. 3. About you● Youre a programmer, organizer, leader● You want to make successful software● You want to work with other people● You want to change the world● You want to earn your living
  4. 4. About me● “Pister Hinges”, origins unclear● My code is crappy, my music is worse● My businesses are lousy investments● My protocols are clumsy (sorry for AMQP)● I still cant believe OReilly published my book● If failure is a university, I have many PhDs
  5. 5. Buy the book
  6. 6. Let me tell you a story...● Closed source is Dead on Arrival● The future belongs to open source● To make open source, build communities● There is a science to it: “Social Architecture”● It can be very profitable
  7. 7. The pain, the pain!
  8. 8. Our industry sucks● All our effort goes to making stuff● Mostly stuff no-one really wants● Missing every new opportunity● Constant build-up of technical debt● Complex, irrelevant, trash
  9. 9. We can dream...
  10. 10. Imagine a Perfect World● Community does most of the work● Mostly, things people really want● Rapid colonization of new spaces● Constant pruning of technical debt● Simple, elegant, precious
  11. 11. But are we solving the right problems?
  12. 12. Why is accuracy so difficult?● We love to make grand designs● But problems are emergent– I.e. we see them only when we get close● Speculative design makes us blind● Upfront structure makes us slow● We attach to solutions, not problems
  13. 13. Perfection is possible
  14. 14. Simplicity Oriented Design● Design by removing problems, not addingfeatures● Simplicity beats functionality, every time● Discover the core problems● Solve them minimally● Use that to discover next set of problems● Aka “Drunken Stumble”
  15. 15. Why open source?● Open source lets us make more accurate,simpler software● In a free & fair market, this will win● Open source can be very profitable– Profits are widely spread● Its a social technology– Not a business model
  16. 16. Why communities?● No-one wants to live in Astana● Community over code● Community grows with the code● We build the code● We own it and look after it
  17. 17. Software is about people
  18. 18. Social Architecture● “The art and science of growing an onlinecommunity”● Cultural, political, or technological● How we organize beats who we are● Simplicity beats functionality● Diversity beats education
  19. 19. Act normal, its just a human
  20. 20. Were a funny animal● Were lazy and stupid, so keep it simple● Were selfish, so make it worth our while● We like to conform, so give us good rules● Were greedy, so make us compete● Were fearful, so make it safe for us fail
  21. 21. Were a social species
  22. 22. How social is your code?● An open source license is the contract on whichthe community forms● The license defines economics of behaviour● A good contract dissolves conflict● Type 1: BSD (MIT, X11, Apache, ...)● Type 2: GPL (LGPL, AGPL, ...)
  23. 23. The essence of BSD● The BSD license says, "Eat Me!"● Some community building● Significant leakage● Mixable but forks are endothermic● Ideal for large groups to dump code
  24. 24. The essence of GPL● The GPL says, "Remix Me!"● Strong community building● Minimal leakage● Remixable, forks are exothermic● Ideal for the revolutionary
  25. 25. Whats your Cost of Failure?
  26. 26. Start small, grow slowly● Make seed product at own cost● Do this in public view● Pull in pioneer contributors● Community designs next iteration● Repeat ad infinitum
  27. 27. The community life cycle● Pioneers, hunting for new stuff● Leading edge, becoming specialists● Early adopters, looking for profit● Mass market, avoiding risk● Late adopters, just keeping up
  28. 28. How sexy is your project?
  29. 29. Crazy and beautiful● A crazy, impossible mission statement● Has to speak to pioneers and leading edge● Simple, elegant, brutally clean● Has to be immediately useful and compelling● You want love at first sight
  30. 30. Ease of access● Remove all barriers to getting involved● If youre not using GitHub, you should be● Has to work for early adopters● Aim for diversity of participants● Origin, gender, age, experience
  31. 31. Cities built by people who never met
  32. 32. Stranger, meet Stranger● Eliminate need for up-front agreement● Invest in really good rules● Apply the rules transparently and fairly● Founder becomes enforcer of fair rules● Not some special genius visionary
  33. 33. The C4 rulekit● Plug and play rules for open source projects● Focuses on scale of community● Best practice from ZeroMQ community● Codified for reuse by other projects● ZeroMQ RFC 22 (
  34. 34. Infinite property● Ideas are cheap and mean nothing● Success comes from very hard work● Participants should own their work● Must be trivial to create new projects● Scale by more projects, not bigger ones
  35. 35. Hi Daddy!
  36. 36. Care and feeding● Communities are not 100% self-steering● They need an authority (founders)● They need living rules (lawyers)● They need sound economics (backers)● They need mediation (clients to experts)
  37. 37. Sorry, were closed
  38. 38. Communities gone bad● Bitter fights over vision and direction● Politics instead of real work● Endless talk of angels and unicorns● Fragmentation and emotional pan● Mental abuse and burnout
  39. 39. Open 24/7!
  40. 40. Communities done right● Consensus emerges quietly in real time● No politics, focus is on real work● Remarkably little upfront discussion● Emotional talk is the exception● Participants come and go easily
  41. 41. Freedom needs security
  42. 42. Immunity from capture● Juicy projects attract predators● Founders, investors, or 3rd parties● See this from the communitys view● Does the license make us immune?● Can we choose another authority?
  43. 43. And does it pay the bills?
  44. 44. Making money from open source● Forget dual licensing & support– Eating the seeds for tomorrows crops● Bring the cost down to zero● Destroy your competition● Standardize to create new markets● Sell new stuff into those markets
  45. 45. Hope you liked the story● Read more at● Buy the OReilly ZeroMQ bookPhotos (c) 2013 Pieter Hintjens, shot inNew York city, Brussels, Vienna, a field inFrance, and Berlin.