Episode 137

A How-to Guide for Contributing to Open Source as an Employee, for Corporations


September 9th, 2022

38 mins 2 secs

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About this Episode


Richard Littauer | Deb Nicholson | Alyssa Wright | Josep Prat | Duane O’Brien

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source for the long haul. We have an exciting episode today because just like long haul truckers, open source maintainers are the people who are keeping the world alive with open source. What we’re excited about is a talk that we gave at OSPOCon in Austin. The talk was called, Panel Discussion: A How-to Guide for Contributing to Open Source as an Employee. This discussion was super important because employees do put a lot of work into open source code, and we wanted to talk about how to contribute to open source better. So, along with Richard, we have four other esteemed colleagues that were a part of this amazing talk, and we decided to put it on this podcast because it represents an initiative that is going to try to showcase to companies how to authentically participate in open source. The panelists joining us are Deb Nicholson from the Python Software Foundation, Alyssa Wright from Bloomberg, Josep Prat from Aiven, and Duane O’Brien from Indeed. Go ahead and download this episode now to find out more!

[00:05:23] Duane starts us off by giving us a little history lesson on the Principles of Authentic Participation and how we got to where we are with the work today.

[00:09:01] The panelists will go through and explain what they think it means to be an authentic participant in open source by going through the principles in order. Josep explains Principle 1: Starts Early.

[00:10:24] Deb explains _Principle 2: Puts the Community First: the collective holds the timeline. _

[00:11:10] Alyssa explains Principle 3: Starts With Listening.

[00:12:32] Duane explains Principle 4: Has Transparent Motivations.

[00:13:45] Josep explains Principle 5: Enforces Respectful Behavior.

[00:15:15] Richard explains Principle 6: Ends Gracefully.

[00:16:05] The last one is a fun one which is _Principle 0: Don’t be a Jerk _;)

[00:16:58] Duane talks about some of the behaviors that were discussed with the principles so that they make more sense.

[00:20:23] The panelists let us know what we can do to make sure these principles are something that companies can adopt.

[00:25:20] Deb touches on commitments or cooperation commitments that people have signed up for and she tells us about the GPL Cooperation Commitment.

[00:31:35] Alyssa tells us about their intent to finalize the principles by the end of summer and put it out for community review and feedback, as well as speaking about it as OSPOCon Europe 2022 in September.

TODO GUIDE: Employee Open Source Engagement Guide

Principle 1: Starts Early

Principle 2: Puts the Community First: the collective holds the timeline

Principle 3: Starts With Listening

Principle 4: Has Transparent Motivations

Principle 5: Enforces Respectful Behavior

Principle 6: Ends Gracefully

Principle 0: Don’t be a Jerk ;)


  • [00:33:52] Deb’s spotlight is Duane O’Brien.
  • [00:34:13] Duane’s spotlights are the book A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers, and to take thirty minutes to sit outside and watch people having fun because it will change your day.
  • [00:35:08] Alyssa’s spotlight is cold showers and AC.
  • [00:35:36] Josep’s spotlight is to do work with people you never knew before.
  • [00:36:25] Richard’s spotlight is Capital Grounds, a café in downtown Montpelier, Vermont, and an amazing Irish barista that works there.



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