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Companies paying it forward in open source

 

I recently saw that Mozilla launched its amazing “Open Source Support” award program:

According to some research, at least 78% of companies are using open source in some fashion (my personal guess is that the number is higher). The fact that the Mozilla corporation realizes that it needs to give back (on top of all the work they already do), is incredibly progressive and I hope sets an example moving forward for others as it can help solve the tragedy of the commons issue that many open source projects face.

For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, tragedy of the commons is:

the depletion of a shared resource by individuals, acting independently and rationally according to each one’s self interest, despite their understanding that depleting the common resource is contrary to their long-term best interests.

The key problem here is that organizations who cannot be excluded from the benefits of a good often have little incentive to contribute toward the production of that good. This is essentially known as “free-riding” and is common in open source land, even with projects that are successful.

There are many ways to tackle this problem, whether it’s through a restrictive license, guilting people to donate, or just setting up a foundation with membership rules and dues to ensure that a particular bit of software is properly funded.

These days, I’m taking a more positive outlook on this issue as I keep seeing more companies setting up open source program offices or even funding projects/developers important to their business (see this recent Capital One example below, which by the way recently established an open source program):

 

https://twitter.com/segiddins/status/659025346264567808

I think this trend will continue as long as we in the free and open source community push for it. At the end of the day, we are in it all together. The more we can convince organizations to give back, especially the ones that have strongly benefited, the more all of us will get back.

My challenge to you is to push your respective organization to give back, whether that is financially or in some other way.

FYI: #MesosCon Europe 2015

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending MesosCon 2015 in Seattle co-located with LinuxCon. I had the honor of being on the Program Committee this year and helped draft the program with a great group of folks. It’s really amazing to see how far things have come since we helped open source Mesos… it was great to see companies like Apple, Verizon, Bloomberg, Paypal, Intel, Cisco, Twitter, AT&T and many other adopters running Mesos with serious production workloads! I was also really proud of us having a diversity scholarship as part of the conference, that worked out really well and we will do it more in the future.

Anyways, if you couldn’t make it, the good news is that all of the sessions were recorded and are available on YouTube now:

Furthermore, if Seattle was a bit too far away, we are hosting MesosCon Europe in Dublin in about a month. The program isn’t live yet as we are in the community review phase for proposals so if you would like to participate in the program selection, please get your votes in!

I look forward to seeing everyone in Dublin and chatting with people over some frosty beverages!

#OSCON 2015 and the Rise of Open Source Offices

I had a fantastic time at OSCON last week. It was a crazy busy week for Twitter announcing that we are helping form the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and unifying some of the work that has been going on in the Kubernetes and Mesos ecosystems:

It’s rare that you see two communities and the large companies behind them put their egos besides and do what is better for everyone in the long term in the infrastructure space. We also formally joined the Open Container Initiative and plan on donating an AppC C++ implementation in the future:

Thank you to everyone who came to our ping pong tournament party and learned a bit more about the sport of table tennis:

We also had a great @TODOGroup panel at OSCON discussing how different companies are running and establishing open source offices… along with what works and some lessons learned:

Finally, thank you to everyone who came to my talk about lessons learned from Twitter creating its open source office on Thursday:

It’s always amazing to see how many companies are starting to form open source offices, from my talk I tried to highlight some of the better known ones from larger companies and even startups (along with their mission statements):

I really expect this trend to continue in the future, for example Box is looking to hire their first Head of Open Source and even  Guy Martin was just hired to create and run an open source office at Autodesk… Autodesk!

At the end of the day, as more businesses become software companies to some nature, they will naturally depend on a plethora of open source software. Businesses will look to find ways to build better relationships with the open source communities their software depends on to maximize value for their business, it’s in their best interests.

MesosCon 2015 Keynotes and Lightning Talk CFP

Holy it’s July already!

Last year I helped organized the first MesosCon community conference and we’re doing the same this year with a slightly larger Program Committee (thankfully, organizing conferences is so under appreciated in the tech industry).

Recently we announced the schedule and some of the keynote speakers for MesosCon 2015. On top of an amazing program, we’re excited to have a bunch of keynote speakers with @benh, @neha, @kenowens12, @adrianco and more.

 

Honestly, it’s been great to watch the Mesos community grow over the years, from its humble beginnings at Twitter to Apple announcing their adoption to seeing a plethora of other companies using it within their infrastructure.

What’s also fun at MesosCon is that we’re co-locating it with LinuxCon and ContainerCon in Seattle so you have the opportunity to attend those events too if they are of interest.

Also, if you’re interested, the lightning talk CFP is open until July 14th.

Hope to see you there! In my opinion, there really is no better set of events if you’re interested in seeing how the future of infrastructure will be run, along with having the opportunity to shape that direction.

Eclipse Code of Conduct

At the recent Eclipse Foundation board meeting this week in Toulouse as part of EclipseCon France, the committer representatives helped move forward a code of conduct for the Eclipse community. As for a bit of background, the request for this initially came from bugzilla and also the LocationTech working group which was looking for a code of conduct for its community. The board opted for a simple code of conduct based on the Contributor Convenant, see this email from Mike Milinkovich:

I am very pleased to announce that the Eclipse Foundation Board of Directors approved a Community Code of Conduct[1] at their meeting earlier this week at EclipseCon France. This brings the Eclipse community in line with the best practices for open source communities around the world.

Our community already has a strong culture of respect and professionalism. Neither I nor the Board expect anyone’s behaviour to change as a result of this. This is simply codifying the high expectations we already meet in terms of professionalism, respect, and simply courtesy.

I agree with Mike and couldn’t have said it better, we have a great community and this simply codifies our high expectations.

SourceForge Hijacking Open Source Project Downloads

Today I read about how SourceForge is hijacking nmap downloads through their old SourceForge account…

This is just plain naughty behavior in open source land… SourceForge has previously done this with the GIMP project and inserted adware into the download. They even created a response page based on the criticism from that incident stating that:

This is a 100% opt-in program for the developer, and we want to reassure you that we will NEVER bundle offers with any project without the developers consent.

Outside of this just being dubious behavior, this looks to be a lie based on what the  nmap developers have stated. Also, what is concerning is that who knows what other open source projects SourceForge is trying to do this for.

This should be a lesson and even a wake up call to open source projects who use external services like SourceForge… there’s inherent risk if the tide of the business you depend on changes.

Furthermore, this is another reason hosting your project at a quality open source foundation can be beneficial as they generally won’t do these type of shenanigans as they protect your projects best interests. These open source foundations can also help you secure a trademark for your project which can help fight against these types of issues.

Stay diligent!

UPDATE: A response from SourceForge

@ApacheParquet Graduating and Mesos with Siri

The last week for me has been fun in open source land outside of me getting two of my wisdom teeth pulled out of my face. On the bright side, I have some pain killers now and also, two notable things happened. First it was nice to finally graduate Parquet out of the Apache Incubator:

It’s been a little over two years since we (Twitter) announced the open source columnar storage project with Cloudera. It’s a great feeling to see a plan come together and see this project grow over the years with 60+ contributors while hitting the notable achievement of graduating out of the Apache incubator gauntlet. If there’s any lesson here for me, it’s much easier to build an open source community when you do it an independent fashion with at least someone else in the beginning (thanks Cloudera).

Another notable thing that happened was that Apple finally announced that they are using Mesos to power Siri’s massive infrastructure.

In my experience of building open source communities, there are usually your public adopters and private adopters. There are companies that wish to remain private about the software they use at times and that’s fine, it’s understandable when it can be viewed as a competitive advantage. The challenge is how you work with these private adopters when they use an open source project of yours while wanting to collaborate behind the scenes.

Anyways, it’s a great feeling to see Apple opening up a bit about their infrastructure and open source usage after working with them for awhile. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come from them. Also, it would be nice if Apple just updated Siri so when you ask what Mesos is, it replies with a funny response and proclaims her love of open source infrastructure technology.

Overall, it’s been a great last week.

Thoughts on running an open source program (via @TODOGroup)

I recently posted on the @TODOGroup blog on why we run an open source program at Twitter:

Outside of just my experience, it’s been great to see other companies participating in this effort so you can hear from them too on running open source programs:

There should be more blog posts from us in the future about this topic, on top of us discussing other issues pertinent to companies working with open source communities.

Anyways, I hope you learned something new from these posts and if you’re a fan of company open source programs, please consider pushing your company or others to establish an official open source program or office. We all should give back as it’s in our best interest.

FoundationDB and Open Source Foundations

Just like any other day, I saw a funny tweet across my timeline this morning:

Not sure if you heard the news, but FoundationDB was a company with a decent amount of open source projects around a NoSQL database. They recently were bought by a much larger company and decided to close down the project, including removing the source and binaries from distribution channels.

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but open source foundations are really useful. As a consumer, it helps you ensure that there is an independent governance structure in place along with fair ownership of the code (usually the foundation). This means that code won’t disappear overnight since an independent entity owns it, along with the broader community. From a producer point of view, you can build diversity in ownership and committers which will help you in the long run in building a sustainable open source community.

Oh well, c’est la vie.

Quick update and nice set of genuine tweets from the CouchDB folks who saw the benefits of having the code exist at an open source foundation:

Linux Kernel’s Code of Conflict

The Linux Kernel recently has come up with an aptly named “Code of Conflict” to deal with some of the criticism inside that community:

There’s also an interview from the Linux Foundation Executive Director, Jim Zemlin about this topic:

While not perfect in my opinion, it is the step in the right direction to ensure a well behaving community. While most people will be excellent to each other, there will also be outliers. Also, it’s important to set expectations within a open source community and really just set the ground rules.

Finally as a prediction (and hope), I expect to see more open source communities, foundations and even companies start implementing these code of conduct style guidelines this year.