OSCON 2013 - Keynote - Creating Communities of Inclusion


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Free and open source software is equal parts technology and humanity. Beyond the coding standards, development environments and essential parts of delivering free software the ideals that drive this movement are powerful. This is a reflection on the lessons gleaned from successful F/LOSS communities and a call to action to spread their ideals to other endeavors such as medicine and government.

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  • My name is Mark Hinkle and I work on open source at Citrix. We are active in the Apache CloudStack Cloud Computing Community. (www.cloudstack.org) The Linux Foundation’s Xen Project (the open source hypervisor) and Open Daylight projects. (www.xenproject.org and www.opendaylight.org) We also operate XenServer as an open source project as well. (www.xenserver.org)
  • Luckily I get to work with a lot of smart people who are well-versed in open source and they have taught me a lot…
  • In 2010 I went to OSCON and I thought I knew a lot about open source...but I realized I still had a lot to learn. I had got into a rut and was not innovating, just doing the same thing over and over again. I think that happens to a lot of open source communities and so I started to stop trying to be an expert and tried to learn all I could from as many people as I could. The thing that made me realize this was a talk given by Adam Jacob called, “Choose Your Own OSCON Adventure” - http://www.oscon.com/oscon2010/public/schedule/speaker/2314 One of the topics was why he chose the Apache License for Chef. Normally license discussions are least productive thing we do as an open source community and inevitable they degrade into the invocation of Godwin’s Law - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law I assumed he was going to say because it was because it was commercially friendly, and all sorts of other things a guy who founded an “open source” for profit company would say But he didn’t talk… he talked about how he liked the Apache license because it allowed more people to participate. That was a watershed moment for me because until that point I was a bit of a GPL bigot and the idea that when you create a community, a successful community you wanted to make sure you didn’t discriminate on any basis and you made it easier That jives with the Open Source Definition as well: Item 5: No discrimination amongst users and groups This talk shook up my predisposition to how a community should look…and started to make me think about what I could learn from other open source communities….
  • Early on there were BBS, then Usenet, then mailing lists and forums where people collaborated. Now there are tons of ways to collaborate and a wider variety of communities that doe that. Github, SourceForge, Google Code, The topic of “actual open developer community” is a great one. What does it mean? If top-down controlled software development is a cathedral, and an open source project without singular decision-making is a bazaar – what is the optimal mix? Can we have cathedrals in the bazaar and bazaars in the cathedral? What history has shown us is that the most successful open source products or technologies (with an important exception: the Apache web server) have a strong and small nucleus of people who make all major design decisions. I am thinking of Linux, JBoss, KVM, Xen, WordPress, Firefox, Thunderbird, SQLite, MySQL etc. These projects/products deal with their respective developer communities in different ways. For Linux, most code contributions go into the various and mostly independent drivers and modules of the operating system. For WordPress, Firefox and Thunderbird, the typical way to contribute is to develop a plug-in. With SQLite and MySQL, the developer community are those who develop tools and apps that link to the database’s SQL interface. In the case of MySQL, you additionally have the storage engine developers (InnoDB, PBXT, Tokutek, ScaleDB, Infobright, and so on). With Xen and KVM, my impression is that most code is developed by the companies who mainly maintain those products. In all these cases, a lot of smart software developers collaborate openly to achieve success. http://www.artofcommunityonline.org/2011/11/09/second-edition-community-interviews-marten-mickos/
  • How many people here use VMware? How many people use Hyper-V for virtualization? How many people benefit from joint collaboration between VMware and Microsoft on those technologies. How many people here use Red Hat Linux? Keep your hands up. How many people here use Ubuntu Linux? Keep your hands up. How many people here use Debian Linux? Keep your hands up. How many people use an Android device? Keep your hands up. How many people use a Rasperry Pi or some other embedded device? Keep your hands up. How many people benefit from joint development of the Linux kernel? Everyone who has their hands up should keep them up. The difference between proprietary software and open source is that if you go down the proprietary road it’s rare that your contributions can help the users of another project be successful. In open source that’s par for the course. Sometimes we get competitive on who has the best open source project. I liken this to fraternities at a college but in the end we all cheer for the same football team on Saturday. Together we all win. I work on Xen Project and XenServer and we rely on QEMU, so does KVM both communities benefit from that upstream both communities help contribute back feedback that makes QEMU better. I work on Apache CloudStack and we work with Ceph, Gluster, Scalr, Puppet, Chef, Zenoss, Riak CS, Xen, KVM, Open vSwithc to integrate their technologies and give feedback to make them better. Lot’s of you work on OpenStack. Both projects contribute to a broader ecosystem that is better for everyone. Inspired by a TechCrunch interview - http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/21/linuxcon-open-source-is-an-ecosystem-not-a-zero-sum-game/
  • At the Southern California Linux Expo this year Jordan Sissel, the creator of Logstash gave a talk and other than the typical sysadmin topics he had one thing to say that was really important. “ If a new user has a problem, it’s a bug in the code or the documentation. End of story.” As people that are smart enough to develop the software sometimes we don’t acknowledge that without users to use, test, give feedback we have a very lopsided equation. Make sure to include users in the development of your software if you want to be successful. Sometimes that means providing systems other than mailing lists (e.g. forums) for users to engage and collaborate on your software.
  • Many of us have read Karl Fogel’s “Producing Open Source Software” it’s an awesome book but a lot has happened since it was published in 2007. The one thing many developers of open source software aren’t good at are asking for help. Karl was, he started a Kickstarter campaign (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kfogel/updating-producing-open-source-software-for-2nd-ed) and he asked for help . He made it easy to contribute money. That’s one thing that is often tough for companies is to support projects if they don’ t ’ have a way to give you cash. Now I am not throwing around $100 bills but if you want to get help make it easy for those with the resources whether they be cash, time or equipment to be included in your community. Also if you are interested in creating a non-profit around your project you can either look at the following: Apache is growing and taking projects into their incubator The Linux Foundation is starting to gain popularity in hosting collaborative projects like OpenMAMA, Xen Project and Open Daylight Or the Software Freedom Conservancy is a great organization and Bradley Kuhn is very helpful if you care to set up your own non-profit or a looking for a home for your project.
  • This is probably the most important lesson I learned from open source community and it has nothing to do with software. It has to do with making the world better in a much more personal way…. I first heard about Jonathan’s project back at a Barcamp in Raleigh many years ago and it struck me as interesting. Jon is a mechanical engineer who lost his arm in Iraq and was fitted with a prosthesis. His contention is that these prosthesis are not designed by amputees and the technology for his mechanical hook is over 100 years old. Last year I thought about it a lot. You see I was stuck in a hospital last summer and couldn’t be at OSCON. I learned first hand that unlike the software I used that the medical field isnt’ as malleable. At 6’ 1” wheelchairs aren’t made for someone whose legs are locked out in casts or braces. The solution is to strap them on with bungee straps or velcro. Around that same I was watching a lot of TED talks from my hospital bed and saw Jonathon’s talk and realized the opportunity for collaboration, in his field and all of medicine. Taking our skills in collaboration and applying them to new industries should be our goal as much as making open source software. The impact we can make on the world is so much greater than even the amazing things open source has done for software. Jon is a PhD candidate in biomedical engineering at Duke University, in the lab of Dr. Rob Clark, working on grasp control for the DARPA Revolutionizing Prosthetics 2009 program. Jon has degrees in industrial design and mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University, and is a graduate of Dartmouth College. His work at Tackle is currently limited to Tackle's help with the fledgling Shared Design Alliance and its Open Prosthetics Project, started by Jon and the rest of the Tackle partners following Jon's injury as a Marine in Iraq. Excerpt from the TedxChapelHill http://videos.liftconference.com/video/2953743/jonathan-kuniholm-open
  • Linux is arguably the largest collaborative effort in human history. Imagine if the same level of collaboration could be applied to other problems other than software and what kind of changes we could enact in our world. If I learned anything from the open source community is that mass collaboration on hard problems are much more solvable when we include the input from the largest groups. That’s why I’d like to see the open source community share their methods and values with other industries beyond software to solve none IT problems.
  • Thank you and have a great OSCON!
  • OSCON 2013 - Keynote - Creating Communities of Inclusion

    1. Mark Hinkle Senior Director Open Source Solutions http://open.citrix.com @mrhinkle
    2. OSCON 2013 | Building Communities of Inclusion by @mrhinkle
    3. Jim Jagielski Apache Software Foundation Dan Frye VP, Open Systems Development IBM Larry Augustin CEO , SugarCRM Robyn Bergeron Leader of the Fedora Project, Red Hat Jeff Bates Open Source IT Program Manager Google Jim Zemlin Executive Director, Linux Foundation OSCON 2013 | Building Communities of Inclusion by @mrhinkle Luke Kanies Founder and CEO , PuppetLabs Tarus Balog Founder and CEO, OpenNMS
    4. Adam Jacob Founder Opscode and the Chef project OSCON 2010 @adamhjk I want to build communities of inclusion and if people can’t participate that sucks. OSCON 2013 | Building Communities of Inclusion by @mrhinkle
    5. …there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model for successful open source projects. Governance models differ. Contribution and participation models differ. Naming and branding differs. What they do have in common is immense impact and huge success. Mårten Mickos Former CEO MySQL CEO of Eucalyptus @martenmickos You can have Cathedrals in the Bazaar OSCON 2013 | Building Communities of Inclusion by @mrhinkle
    6. …the future of technological innovation is not stealing limited resources away from one another, but creating new resources — and new opportunities to create new resources — together in a rich ecosystem. Allison Randal Open Source Hacker Former OSCON Program Chair @allisonrandal Open Source Isn’t a Zero-Sum Game OSCON 2013 | Building Communities of Inclusion by @mrhinkle
    7. If a new user has a problem, it’s a bug in the code or the documentation. End of story. Jordan Sissel Logstash Project @jordansissel Include Your Users in the Software Process OSCON 2013 | Building Communities of Inclusion by @mrhinkle
    8. It's time to update my 2005 book "Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project". Help me do it right. Karl Fogel Author, Producing Open Source Software @kfogel Make it Easy for People to Help You OSCON 2013 | Building Communities of Inclusion by @mrhinkle
    9. Jonathan Kuniholm Open Prosthetic Project @kuniholm OSCON 2013 | Building Communities of Inclusion by @mrhinkle …so that we have skin in the game can actually determine what we might build and what it is we want. And I invite all of you in academia and industry to help me do it. We need this help… Open Shouldn’t End with Software
    11. And I work on open source at Citrix.And I work on open source at Citrix. http://open.citrix.comhttp://open.citrix.com Thank You OSCON 2013 | Building Communities of Inclusion by @mrhinkle