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

What we take for granted: Examining the barriers to contributing to open source

Saron Yitbarek (CodeNewbie)
1:50pm–2:30pm Wednesday, 05/18/2016
Open Source 101
Location: Ballroom C Level: Non-technical
Tags: featured
Average rating: ****.
(4.90, 10 ratings)

The open source community is known for being homogenous. The sexism and racism the plague our industry only reinforce this monoculture, but creating a more diverse open source community requires us to do more than reexamine our culture. Creating a more representative and inclusive open source space requires a better understanding of the assumed context of an open source contributor.

Being an open source contributor requires many resources we often take for granted: technical knowledge, confidence in that knowledge, access to technical tools, and a socioeconomic status that allows us to code without financial compensation. These resources are inaccessible to many, if not most. Shifting the face of our community to better represent our increasingly global user base requires us to examine what groups are least likely to have access to these resources and how different organizations and initiatives are working to remove these barriers and create entry points to groups of people who face the biggest obstacles in their journey to becoming creators in our community.

Saron Yitbarek discusses specific issues around socioeconomic status, location, access to education, and access to high-speed Internet and explains how these factors affect the likelihood of being able to contribute to the open source community. Saron highlights stories of people who have had to overcome these obstacles, illustrating the context of privilege most of us have as developers in the developed world. By understanding the diverse barriers many face to becoming creators in our community and discussing actionable steps we can take to help, we will be better equipped to create on-ramps for more people, leading to a more inclusive space and better open source projects.

Photo of Saron Yitbarek

Saron Yitbarek


Saron Yitbarek is the founder of CodeNewbie, the most supportive community of programmers and people learning to code, and hosts the weekly CodeNewbie Podcast.

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Picture of Maria Naggaga
Maria Naggaga
01/20/2016 12:01pm CST

I am really looking forward to seeing your talk !