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There are four essential questions a company should ask before it decides to create an open source project, according to Duane O’Brien, open source programs evangelist at PayPal.

  • Who cares?

  • Are we still using it?

  • Are we committing our own resources?

  • Can we develop it all in the open?

This framework, developed by O’Brien’s boss Danese Cooper, is useful in vetting internal software for release as open source projects.

In a nutshell, a company shouldn’t open source software that no one else cares about, that they themselves are not using, that they will not commit developer resources to maintaining, or that they continue to develop in secret without community inclusion. (You can see more details and the rationale behind each question in his blog post on OpenSource.com earlier this year.)

“If no one contributes it becomes unmaintained abandonware – a pollutant in the open source ecosystem,” O’Brien said in his talk on the four questions at LinuxCon Europe yesterday.

But what if the answers to these questions are consistently “no?” This is itself a litmus test for a company’s open source knowledge and culture.  

“Use these questions as pointers about what’s going on in the company,” O’Brien said.

1. Who cares?

“If you’re consistently getting: “no one cares,” it’s a good indicator that your technical community isn’t very well connected to the industry,” O’Brien said.  Open source advocates within a company should consider engaging in programs that encourage engineers to join communities and technical discussions. Some examples are:

  • start publishing a podcast

  • start publishing blog posts

  • encourage employees to attend meetups and talks

  • provide travel stipends for employees to attend conferences

  • bring outside experts in to give talks.

2. Are we still using it?

If a company only open sources projects they’re not using anymore, that’s bad corporate practice, O’Brien said. It damages that company’s reputation in the open source community.  

Instead, he recommends looking for what has replaced that defunct code and consider that as an open source contribution.

“Look for exciting things and mine them for open source projects,” he said.

3. Are we committing our own resources?

“If we aren’t committing resources, we’re probably pushing employees and engineers too hard,” O’Brien said. “They should never be asked to maintain open source projects on their own time.”

If a company never commits resources to open source, “it’s also probable that managers don’t understand what a healthy relationship with the open source community looks like,” he said.

More management training on the importance of open source software and how to best use it strategically may be beneficial.

4. Can we develop it all in the open?

And if code cannot be released publicly because developers don’t want anyone else to see it, you may have code quality issues. Or if they’re not willing to engage with the community, which is required to develop in the open, “then there are probably culture issues,” O’Brien said.

These issues can be addressed through employee training and improved code review processes.

Regardless of a company’s answers to the four questions, one of the best things they can do is share what they’ve learned with other developers and companies. It’s good source material for blog posts, white papers, and talks: what you tried, why it didn’t work, and what you’d do next time.

“So the people who come after us can see where we went wrong previously,” he said, and the entire industry can move forward.

Leading open source technologists from Cloudera, Hortonworks, Uber, Red Hat, and more are set to speak at Apache: Big Data and ApacheCon Europe, taking place Nov. 14-18 in Seville, Spain. The Linux Foundation today announced keynote speakers and sessions for the co-located events.

Apache: Big Data Europe, Nov. 14-16, gathers the Apache projects, people, and technologies working in Big Data, ubiquitous computing and data engineering, and science to educate, collaborate, and connect in a completely project-neutral environment; it is the only event that brings together the full suite of Big Data open source projects including Apache Hadoop, Cassandra, CouchDB, Spark, and more.

The event will feature more than 100 sessions covering the issues, technologies, techniques, and best practices that are shaping the data ecosystem across a wide range of industries including finance, business, manufacturing, government and academia, media, energy, and retail.

Keynote speakers at Apache: Big Data include:

  • Mayank Bansal, Senior Engineer, Big Data, Uber

  • Stephan Ewan, CTO, Data Artisans

  • Alan Gates, Co-Founder, Hortonworks

  • John Mertic, Director, Program Management, ODPi

  • Sean Owen, Director of Data Science, Cloudera

View the full Apache Big Data schedule.

Registration for Apache: Big Data Europe is discounted to $499 through October 3. Register Now! Those interested in also attending ApacheCon can add that to their Apache: Big Data registration for only $399. Diversity and needs-based scholarship applications are also being accepted. Apply now for a scholarship.

ApacheCon

ApacheCon, Nov. 16-18, is the annual conference of The Apache Software Foundation and brings together the Apache and open source community to learn about and collaborate on the technologies and projects driving the future of open source, web technologies and cloud computing.

The event will contain tracks and mini-summits dedicated to specific Apache projects organized by their respective communities. In addition, ApacheCon Europe will host complimentary tracks, including Apache Incubator/Innovation, Future of Web, and Community, as well as hackathons, lightning talks, and BarCampApache.

Session highlights include:

  • Building a Container Solution on Top of Apache CloudStack – Paul Angus, VP Technology & Cloud Architect, ShapeBlue

  • Practical Trademark Law For FOSS Projects – Shane Curcuru, VP Brand Management, The Apache Software Foundation

  • Building Inclusive Communities – Jan Lehnardt, Vice President, Apache CouchDB

  • Building Apache HTTP Server; from Development to Deployment – William Rowe, Jr., Staff Engineer, Pivotal

  • If You Build It, They Won’t Come – Ruth Suehle, Community Marketing Manager, Red Hat

View the full lineup of ApacheCon sessions.

Registration for ApacheCon is discounted to $499 through Oct. 3. Register Now! Or Apply for diversity and needs-based scholarships. Those interested in also attending Apache: Big Data can add on that event for an additional $399.
 

Watch open source leaders, entrepreneurs, developers, and IT operations experts speak live next week, Oct. 4-6, 2016, at LinuxCon and ContainerCon Europe in Berlin. The Linux Foundation will provide live streaming video of all the event’s keynotes for those who can’t attend.

Sign up for the free streaming video.

The keynote speakers will focus on the technologies and trends having the biggest impact on open source development today, including containers, networking and IoT, as well as hardware, cloud applications, and the Linux kernel. See the full agenda of keynotes.

Tune into free live video streaming at 9 a.m. CET each day to watch keynotes with:

  • Jilayne Lovejoy, Principal Open Source Counsel, ARM

  • Solomon Hykes, Founder, CTO and Chief Product Officer, Docker

  • Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director, Hyperledger Project

  • Christopher Schlaeger, Director Kernel and Operating Systems, Amazon Development Center Germany

  • Dan Kohn, Executive Director, Cloud Native Computing Foundation

  • Brandon Philips, CTO, CoreOS

  • Many more

Can’t catch the live stream next week? Don’t worry—if you register now, we’ll send out the recordings of keynotes after the conference ends!

You can also follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #linuxcon. Share the live streaming of keynotes with your friends and colleagues!

With LinuxCon North America approaching quickly (August 22!), The Linux Foundation is in preparation and invitation mode. This year, the organization is especially keen on opening up the event and its benefits to diverse communities. One such effort recently took place on Twitter.

During the week of June 15, @linuxfoundation asked their followers to request a free VIP all-access pass by tagging #takemetolcna (that’s Take Me to LinuxCon North America) and explaining why they should win. 

Many great responses were tweeted and The Linux Foundation chose five very worthy guests. Here’s what the winners had to say:

Thank you to everyone who participated! 

Can’t make it to MesosCon North America this week? The Linux Foundation is pleased to offer free live video streaming of all keynote sessions on June 1-2, 2016.

The Apache Mesos conference going on in Denver is a veritable who’s who from across the industry of those using Mesos as a framework to develop cloud native applications. MesosCon is a great place to learn about how to design application clusters running on Apache Mesos from engineers who have done it.

Tune in at 9 a.m. Mountain Time today, June 1, to watch Benjamin Hindman (@benh), the co-creator of Apache Mesos, give the welcome address. And, at 10:15 MT, Craig Neth (@cneth), distinguished member of the technical staff at Verizon, will walk attendees through how they got a 600-node Mesos cluster powered up and running tasks in 14 days.

On June 2, the event features a special keynote from Matei Zaharia, VP of Apache Spark, and keynotes from Twitter, Mesosphere, and EMC. See the full agenda of keynotes here, and sign up for the livestream. While you watch, we encourage you to join the conversation on Twitter using #mesoscon.

By signing up, you’ll also be the first to get notified when the recordings of the keynotes and more than 50 sessions, become available.

Once you sign up, you’ll be able to view the livestream on this page. If you sign up prior to the livestream day/time, simply return to this page and you’ll be able to view.

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