Fueling innovative software
July 15-18, 2019
Portland, OR

Keeping open source open

Zaheda Bhorat (Amazon Web Services), Matt Asay (AWS), VM Brasseur (Juniper Networks), Matt Wilson (Amazon Web Services), Adam Jacob (Chef), Tiffany Farriss (Palantir.net)
1:30pm2:20pm Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Open Source, Open@Amazon , Sponsored
Location: F150/151
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 2 ratings)

Open source has come a long way in the last 20 years and has had many shifts along the way, from altruistically guided developers to commercial entities looking to profit or capitalize on the OSS model; from a concept of shared innovation and collaboration to a go-to-market (GTM) method for rapid awareness, engagement, and adoption for commercial benefit; from a world where the code ran on a box under your desk (with limited scale and reach) to one where it runs across global data centers and public clouds (unlimited in scale and reach); from a time where merit was defined by code to one where the lines have blurred on what actually constitutes a meritocracy.

With the rise of the developer and the shift of community and interest going to foundations and VCs, there are many strong voices and debates in the industry on what it means to be a good open source citizen, the role of licenses in GTM strategy and what’s “fair” in communities and commercialization. Featuring Zaheda Bhorat, Matt Asay, VM Brasseur, Matt Wilson, Adam Jacob, and Tiffany Farriss, the panel will air some of the strongest opinions on Twitter and have a lively discussion on what it takes to keep open source open and where they see open source heading over the next 20 years.

Photo of Zaheda Bhorat

Zaheda Bhorat

Amazon Web Services

Zaheda Bhorat is the head of open source strategy at AWS. A computer scientist, Zaheda is a longtime active contributor to open source and open standards communities. Previously, she shaped the first-ever open source program office at Google; launched successful programs, including Google Summer of Code; and represented Google on many industry standards executive boards across multiple technologies. She also served as a senior technology advisor for the Office of the CTO at the UK Government Digital Service, where she co-led the open standards policy, which is in use by the UK government on open document formats. Zaheda was responsible for OpenOffice.org, and later NetBeans.org, at Sun Microsystems, where she built a thriving global volunteer community and delivered the first user version, OpenOffice 1.0. Zaheda is passionate about technology, education, open source, and the positive impact of collaboration for social good. She serves on the UK government’s Open Standards Board, which determines the standards government should adopt. She also serves on the board of directors of the Mifos Initiative, an open source effort that is positioning financial institutions to become digitally connected providers of financial services to the poor. Zaheda speaks internationally on topics related to open source and social good.

Photo of Matt Asay

Matt Asay


Matt Asay is a principal at AWS, helping to drive the company’s open source strategy, among other things. Prior to AWS, Matt managed Adobe’s developer ecosystem initiatives. Previously, Matt was Adobe’s vice president of mobile strategy and held a range of roles at open source companies, including vice president of business development, marketing, and community at big data database company MongoDB; vice president of business development at real-time analytics company Nodeable (acquired by Appcelerator); vice president of business development and interim CEO at mobile HTML5 startup Strobe (acquired by Facebook); COO at leading Linux and cloud vendor Canonical; and head of the Americas at content management startup Alfresco (acquired by private equity firm Thomas H. Lee). Matt is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and holds a JD from Stanford, where he focused on open source and other IP licensing issues. He writes regular columns for the Register, TechRepublic, and InfoWorld.

Photo of VM Brasseur

VM Brasseur

Juniper Networks

VM (Vicky) Brasseur is the director of open source strategy at Juniper, where she leverages her nearly 30 years of free and open source software experience and strong business background to help Juniper be successful through free and open source software. She spent most of her 20-plus years in the tech industry leading software development departments and teams, providing technical management and leadership consulting for small and medium businesses, and helping companies understand, use, release, and contribute to free and open source software in a way that’s good for both their bottom line and for the community. She’s the author of Forge Your Future with Open Source, the first and only book to detail how to contribute to free and open source software projects (published by the Pragmatic Programmers). Vicky’s a moderator and author for Opensource.com, an author for Linux Journal, the former vice president of the Open Source Initiative, and a frequent and popular speaker at free and open source conferences and events. She’s the proud winner of the Perl White Camel Award (2014) and the O’Reilly Open Source Award (2016). She blogs about free and open source, business, and technical management.

Photo of Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson

Amazon Web Services

Matt Wilson is a vice president and distinguished engineer at Amazon Web Services. Previously, he was a principal systems engineer for the kernel and operating system team at AWS; the chief architect and a founding engineer at rPath, where he codesigned and coauthored Conary, a software version control system making building and maintaining complex software systems with multiple versions and interdependencies possible and was instrumental in identifying the needs and solutions for rPath’s most important customers; and the manager of the base operating system team at Red Hat, where he was one of the original authors of Anaconda, the installation system used by Red Hat today and represented Red Hat as a member of the Linux Standard Base Specification working group. Matt is active in the Linux and free and open source software community. He’s been a member of the Programme Committee of the annual Linux Symposium, traditionally held in Ottawa, Canada, each year. He also served on the board of directors for the Software Freedom Conservancy, a 501( c )(3) organization providing administrative and financial services to free and open source software projects including Samba, Boost, and jQuery.

Photo of Adam Jacob

Adam Jacob


Adam Jacob has been a systems administrator for 25 years. He helped write Chef and Habitat, cofounded and is on the board of Chef Software, and is a passionate advocate for sustainable free and open source communities. He also likes beaches more than mountains, is allergic to plants, and gets nervous every time he speaks in public.

Photo of Tiffany Farriss

Tiffany Farriss


Tiffany Farriss provides project leadership and strategy through consultation, project planning, and coaching as CEO of Palantir.net, a Chicago-headquartered web design and development team. She has over 20 years of experience on a wide variety of projects for higher ed, healthcare, cultural, and media clients. Tiffany served as a director of the Drupal Association from 2009 to 2017 and as its treasurer from 2011 to 2017.