Making Open Work
May 8–9, 2017: Training & Tutorials
May 10–11, 2017: Conference
Austin, TX

Leaving an open source project

Gareth Greenaway (Saltstack)
2:35pm3:15pm Thursday, May 11, 2017
In Real Life (IRL)
Location: Meeting Room 18 C/D
Level: Non-technical

Who is this presentation for?

  • Leaders and future leaders of open source projects

What you'll learn

  • Explore the considerations around leaving an open source project


There is a process for leaving your job in the professional world. But what happens when you decide to leave a leadership position within an open source project? Are you no longer a member of the project’s community? Can you easily come back to the project? Gareth Greenaway answers these questions, sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly and how to make the transition as easy as possible.

Key questions to consider include:

  • Why are you leaving the project? Is it a life change? A change in a job that included your involvement with the project?
  • So you have left the project, or you’ve decided to leave the project. Now what? If there is a community around the project, are you still part of it? Is anything in your name associated with the project (Twitter account, GitHub, etc.)?
  • Assuming you decide on an amicable exit, what does the transition process for leaving look like? Does the project have an exit interview of sorts and why not? Do you give two weeks notice?
  • Is there any sort of announcement or notification that you’ve decided to leave? Does the project make the announcement, does the individual, or is it a joint statement? What is and is not appropriate to say? (Most projects don’t have people sign NDAs when they join.)
  • If you were a founding member of a project which is funded through your company, what happens if you leave that project or the job? And who owns that project now?
Photo of Gareth Greenaway

Gareth Greenaway


Gareth is a software developer at Saltstack, an occasional FLOSS Weekly cohost, and cofounder and former leader of the Southern California Linux Expo. Gareth lives in Southern California with his wife, where they are owned by several pets.