Episode 138

Ruth Cheesley, the Mautic Project Lead at Acquia, on Building and Growing Open Source Communities


September 16th, 2022

39 mins 41 secs

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About this Episode


Ruth Cheesley


Richard Littauer | Ben Nickolls | Eriol Fox | Justin Dorfman

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source for the long haul. Today, we are excited to have as our guest, Ruth Cheesley, joining us from the UK. She is an open-source advocate and Project Lead for Mautic at Acquia. We invited Ruth on this podcast because we don’t seem to have enough talks from people who are part of an actual community of coders. Today, Ruth tells us all about Mautic and her job there as Project Lead, she fills us in on Drupal and Acquia, and a tool they used in managing community health called, Savannah. We’ll also hear Ruth’s strategy when she helped with governance, why Open Source Friday is so important, she explains how she diversifies the contributor base, and we hear her ten-year vision for Mautic she’s working on. Go ahead and download this episode now to learn more!

[00:02:38] Ruth explains what Mautic is, how she became the Project Lead and being on the Community Leadership Team at Joomla.

[00:04:48] Find out the difference between Joomla, Drupal, Acquia, and Mautic.

[00:06:17] From someone that organizes open source communities at his job, Justin asks Ruth what tools she uses, and she tells us about one called, Savannah.

[00:08:54] Ruth tells us about what her strategy was when she helped with governance.

[00:12:47] Richard wonders if the assessment also applies to Mautic and if Mautic is just the same as every other open source project on the web.

[00:16:03] Eriol asks Ruth to tell us some success stories or things that have been tricky between different kinds of functions within the open source.

[00:19:14] We learn how Ruth sees her role or the roles of other people who are being paid as being part of a sustainable path for Mautic itself, and how money has a play in the ecosystem as well as attribution.

[00:21:59] Ruth explains if Acquia pays for full-time engineers and for traditional coder roles for Mautic, and she tells us about Open Source Friday.

[00:24:20] Eriol wonders if there’s anything people can go read or listen to around how smaller organizations or individuals can make that kind of contribution sustainable and are there things we can implement.

[00:27:09] Ruth tells us about a partner’s program they created in Mautic.

[00:29:27] How does Ruth manage to diversify the contributor base, given that not everyone has the access or time to do that sort of work?

[00:32:01] Ruth shares a ten-year vision with a three-year strategy for Mautic.

[00:34:10] Find out where you can follow Ruth online.


[00:09:14] “There wasn’t really a community empowerment process to set up workflows and training for people to take on the releases, so the project just sort of slowed down.”

[00:32:28] “It’s quite tricky during longer term plans when you have lots of businesses that are depending on your software, because what one business thinks the product should do is maybe different to what another business thinks the product should do.”


  • [00:35:27] Justin’s spotlight is Tour de Source newsletter.
  • [00:35:46] Eriol’s spotlight is Fantasy Map Generator.
  • [00:36:20] Ben’s spotlight is Roden open source bike design.
  • [00:37:02] Richard’s spotlight is Richard Matthews and his Oyster Yachts, and the Royal Naval Tot Club of Antigua & Barbuda.
  • [00:37:46] Ruth’s spotlight is Ardour, a tool to compose music.



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