Community News

Launching Communities--A Checklist

Ship launch Lately, the Open Source and Standards team has been called upon to help companies and commercial products with the process of improving the health of and existing open source project. Occasionally, we even get to help launch a new community that did not exist before.

Launching a new community is not exactly a cookie-cutter operation. Every software can have its own licensing and copyright issues that can keep the developers and the lawyers occupied for quite some time.

Beyond the code, focusing on the actual people that could help make a project thrive once it's open, community managers need to spend time getting elements big and small ready to launch, too.

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Open Source and the Proactive Admin

Bug If you happen to be a Linux kernel developer, then you may not be having the best week. The same might hold true if you are a Linux systems administrator. The common reasons for this are the recently announced security vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown.

If you're not familiar with what these two vulnerabilities are, they are specific attack vectors that go after a processor feature known as speculative execution.

It's a no-kidding, all-hands-on-deck kind of problem, too. Initial reports had this being an Intel-only issue, but it turns out to be a potential open door to nearly every modern processor architecture.

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The Many Faces of the Community Manager

Many Faces The open source community manager is one of the most diverse roles in the industry. Each community manager has an opportunity to define their role and areas of focus based on their skills and interests, and on the specific needs of their community.

As a result, they are often not a natural fit in any part of a traditional software organisation, but have a dotted line relationship into a number of teams.

There are many traditional software and product development roles that a community manager can fill for an open source community.

Here are five I'd like to highlight:

  • Marketing
  • Partner/ecosystem development
  • Developer enablement
  • Product/release management
  • Product strategy

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How Pure Does Open Have to Be?

spanakopita Working in open source in these modern times is, for me, a lot of fun. The advent of tools like git (and services like GitHub and GitLab), collaborative platforms like Etherpad, and chat services like IRC have made sharing collaborative projects a much more streamlined process than in days past.

But what if members of your team prefer Slack to IRC? Or Google Docs to Etherpad? Is it time to get the holy water and exorcise these heretics from your community? Or can a more ecumenical embrace be employed?

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Stating the Obvious?

road One thing I have learned while attending events around the world is how to at least say four things in the local language: "hello, goodbye, please, and thank you." It's not much, and I realize its yet-another sign of U.S. cultural centrism that I don't know more languages than English and some German, but I figure if you're going to visit someone's home, the least you could do as a good guest is try to be polite.

Language barriers are not the only thing that can create difficulties communicating, particularly within communities. Personalities, methodologies, and even the most basic goals for a community can put community members at odds.

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Community Managers, What Do They Do?

community Communities are an important part of Red Hat culture and as we have many community managers here, I think it is worth sharing my community management research output with you.

Why did I do this research? We can look at our PnT Comms team as serving an internal community by creating content and events that openly exchange knowledge and ideas about PnT's strategy, products, and people. All PnT associates could be called part of our community, which is the ideal world towards which we're heading. This is why Tim Hildred asked me to find answers to these four questions:

  • Who is a community manager?
  • What are the main areas of responsibility of a community manager?
  • What are some things that community managers, both internal and external, do to achieve those things? How can we apply them in PnT Comms?
  • How do we measure the success of a community?

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Ethics In Open Source

paperclips One of the advantages of traveling to open source conferences around the world is that you get a varied perspectives on how the world can work that falls outside your own worldview.

My recent trip to the Open Source Summit in Prague afforded me many such opportunities, and from very unexpected sources. One of which was from what some of my colleagues informed me was a insidious time waster: Universal Paperclips.

And the fun was just beginning.

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The End of FUD? Sadly, No

trashcan Linux. git. Hadoop. Filesystem storage. Block storage. Blockchain.

These are just some of the technologies and tools that have been created working with free and open source software (FOSS) methodologies. These tools have proven to be, time and time again, solid, stable, and commercially successful.

Yet, here we are, in 2017, still hearing arguments that FOSS licenses can introduce problems in your IT organization. Or comments from technology professionals who decry the value of open source, saying open source is never going to be truly innovative.

(See lede paragraph.)

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Stop Working So Hard--Scaling Open Source Community Practices

scaling tracks Lately, I have been revising some of the OpenStack community’s processes to make them more sustainable. As we grew over the last 7 years to have more than 2,000 individual contributors to the current release, some practices that worked when they were implemented have begun causing trouble for us now that our community is changing in different ways. My goal in reviewing those practices is to find ways to eliminate the challenges.

OpenStack is developed by a collection of project teams, most of which focus on a feature-related area, such as block storage or networking. The areas where we have most needed to change intersect with all of those teams, such as release management and documentation. Although the teams responsible for those tasks have tended to be small, their members have been active and dedicated. At times that dedication has masked the near-heroic level of effort they were making to keep up with the work load.

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On Humane Teams at Home and Around the World

Pivotal Meetup I had the pleasure last week of seeing Dan Young and Emma Jane Hogbin Westby's talk on Humane Teams at Home and Around the World at the Pivotal London Lunch meetup, and came away with a lot to think about: how different cities do meetups, the choices that we make about how we work with teams, and what information informs those choices.

It's always a delightful experience to see how different cities do different meetups. Even though it was the middle of the week and pouring down rain, over 60 people came to see the talk! The structure of the meetup is around topics interesting to tech, not necessarily the most technical deep dive. It's almost like a bite-sized DevOps Day feeling, in a really lovely space in the Pivotal office.

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