Everything open source
May 16–17, 2016: Training & Tutorials
May 18–19, 2016: Conference
Austin, TX

Is marketing in open source a "four-letter word"?

Nithya Ruff (Comcast)
2:40pm–3:20pm Wednesday, 05/18/2016
Business of OSS
Location: Meeting Room 9 A/B Level: Non-technical

Prerequisite knowledge

Attendees should have an understanding of open source creation and needs.


We tend to turn away from commercial activities such as marketing because we think that they are not in alignment with open source principles or culture. Nithya Ruff argues that whether you’re a developer, maintainer, or corporate product manager, you need to know how to position, market, and sell your ideas and product. Nithya outlines ideas to promote your project and position your open source-based product correctly.

Topics include:

  • Principles of marketing relevant to open source projects to increase funding, users, and engagement from developers, including the 4 Ps—product, promotion, price, and place
  • How a company should position an open source-based product
  • How to create interest for your project and your work in social media
Photo of Nithya Ruff

Nithya Ruff


Nithya A. Ruff is the senior director for Comcast’s Open Source Strategy practice. Nithya first glimpsed the power of open source while at SGI in the ‘90s and has been building bridges between hardware developers and the open source community ever since. Previously, she created and managed Western’s Digital’s Open Source office and has held leadership positions at Wind River (an Intel company), Synopsys, Avaya, Tripwire, and Eastman Kodak. Nithya has been a passionate advocate for opening doors to new people in open source for many years and has promoted diverse ways of contributing to open source projects. She is coleader of the Women of OpenStack (WOO) group and a liaison into the OpenStack Foundation. Her work has included partnering with NCWIT on a Male Allies Workshop and panel and serving as a mentor at OpenStack. She is also a sponsor of the Women in Open Source (WIOS) Lunch at the Linux Foundation and an active leader of WIOS, advocating for reducing barriers for women and underrepresented minorities. Nithya was invited to be on a diversity leader panel at the 2015 All Things Open conference and has spoken at a number of other conferences, including OSCON, SCALE, Grace Hopper, OpenStack, and Red Hat Summit. Her writing on open source and best practices for increasing diversity has appeared in Light Reading, the Huffington Post, Opensource.com, and the San Jose Business Journal. You can often find her on social media promoting dialogue on diversity and open source. In recognition of her work in open source both on the business and community side, Nithya was named to CIO Magazine’s most influential women in open source list. In 2014, she was invited to be president of SanDisk’s Women’s Innovation Network (WIN), dedicated to the development of women’s highest potential in the work place. Nithya holds an MS in computer science from NDSU and an MBA from the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School. She lives in the Bay Area and is a proud mother of two daughters.