Episode 191

FOSSY 2023 with Sam Whited


July 21st, 2023

15 mins 25 secs

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode


Sam Whited


Richard Littauer

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! Richard is in Portland, OR at FOSSY, the Free and Open Source Software Yearly conference that is held by the Software Freedom Conservancy. Today, our guest is Sam Whited, a bicycle mechanic with a deep involvement in open source software development. His contributions include work with the XMPP Standards Foundation, the Internet Engineering Task Force, and the creation of Mellium, an XMPP library in Go. The conversation delves into the sustainability challenges faced by Mellium and similar projects with Sam advocating for support from larger companies and well-funded open source initiatives. Sam, a strong supporter of open source co-op consultancies, also shares his personal journey from tech to bicycle mechanic, underscoring the struggle of maintaining open source projects while managing living expenses. Go ahead and download this episode now to hear more!

[00:00:38] Sam tells us about himself, working as a bicycle mechanic while contributing to open source software in his free time. He’s worked with the XMPP Standards Foundation, the Internet Engineering Task Force, and maintains an XMPP library called Mellium.

[00:01:45] He explains XMPP stands for Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol and is an open standard communication protocol. He believes in it because of its recognized standards body, resilience, and the continuing work to keep it open, free, and sustainable.

[00:02:38] XMPP sits at several levels in the communication stack. It’s used in various applications like Snikket, Cisco’s mobile video conferencing, Grindr, Zoom, and Jitsi.

[00:04:11] Mellium is explained as an implementation of XMPP in Go.

[00:05:13] Richard asks about the sustainability of Mellium. Sam acknowledges the challenges of attracting maintainers and funding for the project, and he explains his goal is to operate Mellium as a cooperative.

[00:08:00] The conversation turns to funding for protocol implementation and Sam suggests that companies and well-funded open source projects should give back to the smaller projects they utilize. He mentions that Mellium sets aside a portion of their donations for upstream projects that helped him.

[00:10:38] Sam explains “The Seven Cooperative Principles” from the International Cooperative Alliance.

[00:11:30] Sam explains why he decided to work as a bike mechanic instead of pursuing work related to his expertise in using Golang.

[00:13:43] Find out where you can find Sam on the internet.



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