Open source software projects can be prickly toward their users. Poor documentation, a steep learning curve, and a finely tuned focus on excellence and quality can make a project community seem hostile. As users of many different open source projects over the years, Donna Benjamin and Leslie Hawthorn have often wondered about this problem and contemplated what to do about it. This session takes their long-standing private rant public.
Donna Benjamin is the executive director of Creative Contingencies, an Australian company specializing in customized web services, digital research, and event management tools. Donna is a passionate advocate of free and open source software (FOSS) solutions for small business and education. She’s also currently part of the outreach and licensing team of the Open Invention Network and sits on the board of the Drupal Association. In the past, Donna has served as president of Linux Users of Victoria, as a board member of Open Source Industry Australia, and as an advisor to the Ada Initiative. You can read Donna’s thoughts about business on her Creative Contingencies blog and thoughts about everything else at Kattekrab.net.
Leslie Hawthorn is director of developer relations at Red Hat. An internationally known developer relations strategist and community management expert, Leslie has spent the past decade creating, cultivating, and enabling open source communities. She’s best known for creating the world’s first initiative to involve pre-university students in open source software development, launching Google’s #2 developer blog, and receiving an O’Reilly Open Source Award in 2010. Her career has provided her with the opportunity to develop, hone, and share open source expertise spanning enterprise to NGOs, including senior roles at Google, the Open Source Initiative, the OSU Open Source Lab, and Elastic. She lives with her partner in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. You can read her thoughts on her blog. If you cheer during movies when you hear the words “I fight for the users” or “Get your head out of your cockpit,” the two of you will likely get along famously.
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