Episode 20

The Keys to Open Source Sustainability with Gidi Morris


January 10th, 2020

48 mins 14 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guest

About this Episode

Sponsored By:


Justin Dorfman | Eric Berry


Gidi (Gideon) Morris
Principal software engineer at Elastic

Show Notes

00:44: The special guest for this episode of Sustain is Gidi (Gideon) Morris. Gidi is the principal software engineer at Elastic and has been in the industry for about two decades now.

03:08: He discusses his worries within not just the open source world, but the entire tech industry. Justin furthers the questions that Gidi raise about the open source world and the various psychological impacts it can have on the employees, due to his own experience. Gideon address the pressures and shifts relating to newcomers in the industry, specifically focusing on the world of open source. He raises the two issues he’s concerned about which is why people come into the industry and how do we support them? And are we creating an environment where they’re burning themselves out the way I did?

06:45 Eric begins the discussion by addressing the term Gidi raises which is, burnout. He relates his own experience where he felt this way about his work in the past year and brings up Gidi current employer, Elastic. Eric talks about his time when he was working at a startup called Mahalo and he used a product called Elastic search.

07:45 The question was posted in IRC and it was answered in 30 seconds according to Eric, which he exclaims was very surprising and that it represented that healthy environment Gidi brought up. Eric says he’s heard the work on Elk Stack is the environment striving to prevent the burnout that Gidi raises issues about.

08:18 Gidi then goes into detail about how companies can prevent the burnout of their employers and how they can learn from companies, like Elastic. He explains Elastic and what they do, he says it mainly works on a product called Elastic search, which is a search engine as well as a variety of satellite products.

10:30 He also states that it’s also one of the biggest remote companies across the tech world. He joined because all of the development within Elastic is developed like an open source project. Gidi also discusses how well the communication is within the employers and the flexibility within the company.

12:50 Eric then moves the conversation to working in a remote company and the benefits and downsides that it can possess. Gidi explains how his team works across 5 different time zones. Eric then asks Gidi about licensing working on a source available product, which allows users to look at the source.

16:30 Gidi discusses the benefits of the open source project and the healthy environment it provides. There is nothing secretive about what's being done within the company which he states as being less limited than more limited. Gidi explains how there are certain folders that have what used to be closed source and are now source available. Eric agrees with Gidi in that the key to open source sustainability is licensing and being honest with customers and contributors.

22:01 Gidi also brings up the recent dilemma about the expectations of the open-source community to shift without the help of those companies, which is where the dilemma comes up between balancing that and licensing agreements. Gidi explains some of the mistakes they’ve made along the way with the dual-licensing model, however it has mostly worked out for them in the end. Eric says that Elastic has taken a good approach to licensing with open source.

36:40 Gideon ends the conversation explaining why he joined Elastic from the start. The main thing was the difference between a company being asynchronous and synchronous and that is what Elastic brought into question for him. He emphasized that if we as a community adopt these ways of working, there will be a big change in how others get involved with the open source community.

43:25 Eric and Justin wrap up the conversation by discussing what they’re planning to do with every podcast, which is every podcast they share an open-source project or library that has provided value or an impact for their personal career or life. They spotlight Erik Rasmussen, Laravel Charts, and a charity called BEAM.


  • Gidi - Not an OS project, but plugging Beam - a charity worth mentioning and founded by a fellow developer
  • Eric - Final Form by Erik Rasmussen
  • Justin - Laravel Charts
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