Episode 124

Julia Ferraioli on Open Source Stories, and Responsible Recognition for Open Source Contributions


June 10th, 2022

40 mins 26 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guest

About this Episode


Julia Ferraioli


Richard Littauer | Justin Dorfman | Alyssa Wright

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source for the long haul. Today, we have joining us as our guest, Julia Ferraioli, who’s an open source human, co-founded Open Source Stories, and has been part of the Sustain community for a while. Our conversations today take us through learning about Julia’s background, what Open Source Stories is, and how she quantifies a black swan open source. We also learn about two camps of people who work on open source that Julia encountered, a detailed explanation of what “matters” means, and what Julia does when she works on standardizing open source information. Go ahead and download this episode now to hear more!

[00:01:40] Julia talks about her history and how she got to where she is today.

[00:02:43] What is Open Source Stories?

[00:06:05] We find out the story how Julia and Amanda Casari ended up working together on Open Source Stories.

[00:10:48] Julia explains how she quantifies a black swan open source and what she worries about in terms of recognition.

[00:15:11] Alyssa asks Julia if there are people that are contributing to open source projects that don’t feel recognized and acknowledged and if there’s an invisible community that we’re trying to not only grow and diversify.

[00:16:32] Justin shares a story about Guist, a designer he worked on a Zsh project with.

[00:18:07] Julia brings up how you can sponsor a developer on GitHub, but wonders if you can sponsor a designer on GitHub.

[00:20:00] Alyssa asks Julia why we have to recognize people in order to sustain the open source software communities.

[00:23:35] Richard brings up the topic of recognition of individuals and how do we make sure that recognition is equal across the board, and Julia shares her thoughts.

[00:26:57] Julia explains two camps she’s encountered, the camp where the contribution matters and the camp where the whole person matters.

[00:30:03] We find out what “matters” means to the whole ecosystem, what matters to a sub ecosystem, and what matters to a project.

[00:32:42] What does Julia work on when she works on standardizing open source information?

[00:35:18] Find out where you can follow Julia online.


[00:08:14] “The conversations that we have tend to lead to some really interesting explorations and one of our talks was about black swans and open source.”

[00:10:51] “I think it’s completely subjective.”

[00:13:22] “We’ve made really good strides in recognizing contributions outside of code such as technical writing, triage, and code reviews.”

[00:14:15] “It’s really important as more and more companies are relying on open source because it makes it into products.”


  • [00:36:22] Justin’s spotlight is The Non-Code Contributor newsletter.
  • [00:36:57 Alyssa’s spotlight is Wikipedia for quick searches and seeing people outside and meeting each other in person.
  • [00:37:50] Richard’s spotlight is Marquette University and the J.R.R. Tolkien Fandom Oral History Collection.
  • [00:38:24] Julia's spotlight is a paper called Chalk: Materials and Concepts in Mathematics Research.



Support Sustain