I have been thinking about how size can affect culture and adaptability of groups recently. The topic once again came up today in a talk about what makes a healthy community. The answer to that will depend on the community's size and maturity. An open source project, in the words of one participant in one conversation I had recently on this subject, should have "the minimum level of structure to allow it to function effectively." I agree—just enough is the right amount. This article contains some ponderings on the relationship between size and communities, and some conclusions we can take from that.
This past September, I gave a talk in PyCon India 2016 titled “Python in Red Hat World”. The talk described the use cases of Python programming language inside of Red Hat.
I started the talk with an introduction to Red Hat–what we do and our main products are. Because the room had many students, this was new information for many of them. But almost all knew Red Hat for our flagship operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). When installing RHEL or Fedora (the upstream Linux distribution of RHEL), we use the project known as Anaconda to do so. Anaconda is written in Python. If you are trying to learn how to use Python Mock module and write better unittest cases, you should go through the source code of the Anaconda project.
It may seem like a lot of braggadocio when we talk about the talent that comprises the Open Source and Standards team. But seriously, the list of folks we have on our team reads like an all-star list of people who have been active in the free and open source software communities: Deborah Bryant, Ruth Suehle, Jim Perrin, Rich Bowen, Leslie Hawthorn, and Bill Simpson… these are just some of the fantastic talents we have working with open source and standards communities around the world.
But when we announce that Stormy Peters is about to join our team as the Senior Manager of our Community Team… well, you can forgive us for being even more excited.
The Free and Open Source Developer European Meeting (FOSDEM) conference will be held once again in Belgium at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles on February 4 & 5, 2017. For those not familiar with the event, it’s the largest general open source conference in Europe—perhaps the largest in the world—taking place annually in Brussels since 2001. (And, if you want to get pedantic about it, you could say FOSDEM was born in 2000 as the OSDEM conference.)
The conference has always been an important one for Red Hatters, with our employees representing the community in several ways: teaching in the exhibition area, giving talks as part of the main program, organizing of FOSDEM itself and organizing Developer Rooms. This year is no exception, as you can see from all the Developer Rooms we’re helping to organize!
Much of what we do on the Open Source and Standards team is focused on community growth, on the premise that a growing community, by and large, is a healthy one.
Growing a community is never as simple as throwing out your code for the world to see and letting your code's awesomeness speak for itself. You can build the coolest application on the planet and still have problems getting people to help you with it, even if you have a sparkling personality.
We've talked about this before, when discussing onboarding. Onboarding is what we call the process used to get people into a community. That process can take many forms, and there can be more than one path into your community, but the key thing is having a process. Otherwise, you can have a project where you build it and no one comes.
The kid was the western suburbs of Pittsburgh, strolling up to the Red Hat booth on day two of LinuxCon North America with his dad in tow. 17 and a senior at West Allegheny High School in Imperial, PA, this young man had an interest in studying computer science and had come to LinuxCon with his father to get the lay of the land.
At this point, you might think the story would be about how we walked this young man through all of the different education options Red Hat participates in, including our University Outreach and Red Hat internship programs, and he left with a glowing confidence about the open source future before him. And indeed, that is pretty much part of what went down: my colleague Tom Callaway spoke at length with this student about those very topics. But while Tom was shaping future minds, I also had an interesting discussion of my own with the boy's father.
I spoke to several students at the booth over the course of the week–more women than men, I was pleased to observe–and while they all do represent the future of open source, that designation was not just limited to them. Anyone can come into open source and free software development and find their passion there.
Fedora's Flock wrapped up two weeks ago, after a lovely week in Krakow, Poland. Here's an organizer's-eye view of the conference and some updates.
Overall, I think this was a great event. At least, the feedback I got from folks who attended was that it was productive and they had a good time.
Later this month is the day traditionally used as the anniversary date for the Linux operating system, which got its public start with an August 25, 1991 post to the comp.os.minux newsgroup. This year, Linux will celebrate its 25th year of changing the world.
Linux has come a long way since those days in the latter half of 1991, and countless articles and books have been written about the impact of piece of software has had on the development of technology.
To get an idea of how fast Linux took off, think about the timeline of the first year of Linux's existence.
I have been fortunate enough to attend LinuxCon Japan this week, a conference of 350 attendees in the Bunkyo neighborhood of Tokyo that features strong tracks to keep developers and business people here in Asia appraised of all things cool and open source.
I was asked to do a couple of talks, one being on how community can have real value on the bottom line of a business and not just be an expenditure on an organization's bottom line. It went pretty well, and one of the questions afterward was very interesting.
Wednesday was another fine day at Red Hat Summit 2016 in San Francisco at the Moscone Center. After a really fun keynote that included deploying a mobile game that something like 800 attendees played live, it was time for breakout sessions.
What follows is a nearly stream-of-consciousness grab of the highlights of the sessions from day two.