Put open source to work
July 16–17, 2018: Training & Tutorials
July 18–19, 2018: Conference
Portland, OR

Twenty years of OSS: The challenges of contributors and maintainers from past to future

Jennifer Rondeau (Heptio)
2:35pm3:15pm Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Level: Non-technical
Average rating: **...
(2.40, 10 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Open source maintainers and contributors, project managers, advocates and evangelists, and those from the larger community

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Familiarity with the responsibilities of open source maintenance and community development (useful but not required)

What you'll learn

  • Learn how the needs of the enterprise are increasingly shaping maintenance and contributions to open source projects and how open source can use enterprise models to expand both project development and welcoming communities


Open source software is increasingly driven by the needs of the enterprise. What does this mean for how we define and manage open source contributions and maintenance? Jennifer Rondeau looks to where we’ve been and where we are now to address questions of how we can continue to broaden the range of contributions, maintain welcoming communities, and keep to high project standards.

Jennifer examines the history of open source advocacy as it’s evolved from the early years of creating the Open Source Definition (OSD) to today’s increasing attention on community management and encouraging new contributors and considers ways to move into the future. One of the things that’s changed most strikingly is the acknowledgement that it takes more than open source code to make a viable open source project. It takes a wide range of contributors to build the open source projects that the enterprise needs. Documentation is frequently the focus of these discussions: providing a better README or a clear set of contributor guidelines or encouraging new contributors to consider the docs as a place to start before they dive into the code. And as open source development has become critical to the enterprise, large projects in particular reap the benefits of more contributions beyond code—testing, UX/UI design, framework maintenance, release management, and oh, yes, docs.

But how do we manage a broader range of contributions, and how do we encourage them? How do we maintain standards while expanding the welcome to more contributors from more diverse backgrounds? Jennifer combines a narrative history of open source evangelism with stories drawn from her own experience on open source projects, including Kubernetes, to answer these questions. If we’re really putting open source to work, we need to accelerate toward wide-ranging contributions beyond code.

Photo of Jennifer Rondeau

Jennifer Rondeau


Jennifer Rondeau maintains and contributes docs for Kubernetes and other open source projects. She is passionate about developer experience, community outreach, and the Oxford comma.