Episode 90

Logan Kilpatrick and the Julia community


September 10th, 2021

33 mins 51 secs

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Special Guest

About this Episode


Logan Kilpatrick


Eric Berry | Justin Dorfman

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source for the long haul. We are very excited to have as our guest, Logan Kilpatrick, who is the Community Manager for the Julia Programming Language, a graduate student studying Software Engineering and Technology Law, and makes an exclusive announcement of another position he recently has taken on. Today, we are talking to Logan about the Julia Programming Language. We learn more about the role Major League Hacking played in the MLH Fellowship with Julia, why Logan is most interested in doing open source non-technical, his experience working at NASA, and the challenges he has with research papers. He also tells us about why the Julia community should not be using Slack, but maybe using Discord and Zulip in the future. Logan shares some parting advice about reaching out to people if there’s opportunities that are interesting to you. Find out more and download this episode now!

[00:00:22] Logan gives us a brief introduction of who he is, what he does, and what this new position is he has recently taken on.

[00:01:52] NumFocus is the topic and how this all came to be for Logan, and why Julia as a programming language is so unique and special.

[00:05:48] Justin brings up ML Hacks and Logan explains more about this.

[00:08:04] Logan fills us in on what his Julia day-to-day tasks that he works on and his non-technical tasks so he can influence the next non-technical open source contributor.

[00:11:51] Find out if the Julia Programming Language is using any tools to monitor their community engagement. Justin talks about something he uses called Orbit, which is a framework for building high gravity communities.

[00:16:00] Find out the experience Logan had working with NASA!

[00:18:49] Logan has so much going on in his life and Justin wonders how he finds time to do anything.

[00:20:10] We learn why Logan has a bunch of challenges with research papers.

[00:22:47] Eric wonders if people are not sharing the code for reasons that they don’t want to give up intellectual property or that it’s not completely well-formed and they just want to own it, but still want to share it. Logan gives his perspective on this.

[00:25:17] Logan explains the different places you can find the Julia community and why they should not be using Slack. Eric wonders what is out there that we can use that people would adopt, and Logan talks about Discord, Zulip, and Forum Community.

[00:29:09] Logan covers one more thing, going back to the convo they had about open source contributions and non-technical contributions. He also brings up Jono Bacon’s book, People Powered.


[00:04:46] “The estimate right now is something like a million developers or something like that, which is at a million users.”

[00:05:53] “So, Major League Hacking is an incredible organization and they were sort of generous enough in the first iteration of the MLH Fellowship, which is just an opportunity for students to contribute to open source and get paid to do it by Major League Hacking and a bunch of peripheral organizations who support Major League Hacking.”

[00:08:33] “I think my sort of general goal that has just come out recently for me is to make people understand that a non-technical contribution in open source is a viable way of contributing.”

[00:08:58] “And the reason for that is I feel like there’s more opportunities to do those non-technical contributions and there’s more sort of missing pieces in the non-technical space.”

[00:10:21] “Again, I think there’s so much non-technical work that if someone doesn’t step up and do it, it doesn’t get done.”

[00:20:21] “One of which is a lot of times folks don’t release their code, which is sort of one of the missions of NumFocus and in a sense, “Open code equals better science.”

[00:26:16] “To me, it’s 100% evident and perfectly clear that we should not be using Slack.”

[00:26:23] “Slack is a tool that is built for corporations to communicate with one another... It is not a tool for open source projects to be using.”

[00:28:46] “In my personal opinion, Discord and Zulip will probably be the two that are fighting each other in the future with respect to places that communities go and meet.”

[00:29:22] “I think something that is perhaps might be obvious to some people, might not be obvious to some people, but really, non-technical contributions in my opinion are the pathway to making a code contribution.”

[00:30:58] “I think my parting suggestion for people that I always try to instill whenever I have the opportunity to talk to people that I don’t know through the internet is take the opportunities to reach out to folks that you don’t know if there’s opportunities that are interesting to you.”


  • [00:31:55] Logan’s spotlight is the tool Julia’s visualization package Makie.
  • [00:32:29] Eric’s spotlight is a suite of tools called Setapp.
  • [00:33:03] Justin’s spotlight is Kid Pix.



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