We're the face of open source

>> Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I had some interesting discussions on Twitter this afternoon.  

Wayne replied:

Miles said:

One of the great things about the Eclipse community: that we cooperate on open source projects yet compete on commercial products.  This slide from the Eclipse 10 years talk  that John Kellerman and I  recently gave shows the diversity of the CDT project by company.

Here's another slide where we talked about the fact that there weren't originally enough non-IBM committers on the Eclipse project.  I called this "Too much blue in the Eclipse rainbow".

Image ©darrentunnicliff, http://www.flickr.com/photos/darrentunnicliff/4510834607/  licensed under Creative Commons by-nc-sa 2.0

I'd like see a more diverse community at Eclipse and in open source in general.  To spread the word that it's a rewarding career and we have a wonderful community.  Also, I'd like to find more people to fix bugs :-)

Occupy Open Source: We are the 1%

I don't know if the percentage of women at Eclipse is really 1% but it's pretty low.*

Ian later tweeted

My response was that it would be interesting to focus on the person, where they had come from and what they work and work the technology into the discussion.  Show a picture of the person, what their educational background is, how they got involved in open source, and what they work on.  I think computer science and open source have an image problem.  People think that we software isn't a social endeavour.  And yet it is.  Hello GitHub.  That the work we do doesn't change the world and make people's lives better.  No again.

One of the ways to combat stereotypes tell stories from the perspective of the person. How they came to work in open source. The interesting projects they work on.  Talks they presented at conferences.  What they do in their spare time outside work. Curtis writes code for PDE but he also likes to kayak.  Susan works on Orion but also runs an organic farm.  Andrew writes Linux tools but he also has interesting travel adventures.  Eric works on the next generation Eclipse UI and wins pool tournaments.  Tom works on that too, and he likes to ski and hike near his home in Innsbruck.  Ian lives in Victoria, works on p2 and plays hockey.  Introduce the person, then move on to talk about the technology they work on :-)

Yesterday, Syzmon asked me if me if could use our Eclipse 10 Years talk at a demo camp in Poland. I thought that was fantastic.  Our talk delivered in another country, in a different language.  Go Creative Commons.

Putting these too ideas together, I thought it would be interesting to have a common slide deck we as a community could use at schools or universities called "We're the face of open source".  I think it's important to showcase the different paths people take to get to their careers.  And kids need to to see something of themselves reflected in people who work in the industry.  It doesn't matter if you're a man or woman, your ethnicity,  where you live, if you're gay or straight, have five kids or three dogs. The important thing is that you have a story that you want to share to inspire a new generation to consider contributing to open source. 


*1)This is not intended to be a statement for or against the Occupy movement.  I'm just trying to be funny. YMMV.
2) Standing out in the Crowd talk from OSCON 2009 has interesting numbers about open source diversity and the benefits it brings
3) I'm willing to help put the slide deck together in my spare time outside work.  We could use a Google Docs to allow multiple people to edit it. Maybe the slide deck could provide a list of Eclipse mentors that are willing to help out students fix their first bug, browse the source tree etc.  These are details.  Let me know if you are interested in contributing :-) 
4) This would make an interesting EclipseCon talk. Ten Eclipse committers/contributors you should know and why


Ed Merks 11:18 PM  


I suggest you run as a committer representative for the Eclipse board of directors. Women are under represented there too!

Dominique De Vito 2:58 AM  

I like this idea "let's show the path" through personal stories. It looks like a good one putting forward diverse examples which one could fit with. And, indeed, open source communities should express naturally diversity, as it sounds more like the Bazaar than the Cathedral... hum, may be long-running and big Bazaars are looking a bit like Cathedrals from newcomer canditates, that is, from a (bit) distant point of view.

Kim Moir 8:41 AM  

Ed, I'm interested in running for committer rep but my employer asked me not to run. Fun times.

Dominique, thanks, I think it would help people see the faces behind the people in the community.

Lynn Gayowski 6:16 AM  

On a related note, I went to a talk on Girl Develop It Ottawa last week and they're looking for developers to lead tech workshops http://www.meetup.com/girl-develop-it-ottawa. I'd sign up for a class by you without hesitation!

Kim Moir 6:35 AM  

Thanks Lynn, I'll look into it. Looks interesting!

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