Oxide and Friends

Kelsey Hightower joined Bryan and Adam to revisit a topic Bryan had spoken about a decade ago: corporate open source anti-patterns. Kelsey brought his typical sagacity to a complex and fraught topic.

We've been hosting a live show weekly on Mondays at 5p for about an hour, and recording them all; here is the recording from August 28th, 2023.

In addition to Bryan Cantrill and Adam Leventhal, we were joined by Kelsey Hightower.

Here is the (lightly edited) live chat from the show:
  • xxxxbubbler: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm8P4oCIY3g here is Bryan's talk from 1 decade ago, for reference
  • rolipo.li: web3 is going great
  • rolipo.li: https://web3isgoinggreat.com/
  • ahl0003: Last time Kelsey joined us for predictions
  • blainehansen: "Governance orgies" happen when the governance mechanisms aren't well-designed ha. If they are well-designed then governance is good!
  • jbk: opsware maybe? or tivoli?
  • uptill3: hp openview was one as well
  • sevanj: "they've got us working for trinkets"
  • sevanj: this was mentioned on the bugzilla anouncement regarding funded staff being pulled from working on project in the last 3 years.
  • blainehansen: All open source problems are secretly public goods problems haha
  • carpetbomberz.com: Hashicorp DID do a "thing"
  • blacksmithforlife: Just like taxes fund roads, we should have a internet usage tax that then funds these open source projects that everyone finds value in. The person taxed should get to decide which open source project gets the money
  • kaliszad: The problem is, you can help other people, but first you have to sustain yourself. 🙂
  • aarondgoldman: Too boring to be evil
  • rolipo.li: too busy to be evil?
  • aarondgoldman: Angular never got budget even when Inbox used it and had millions of users
  • blainehansen: Most open source projects are probably not best led/governed by a for-profit company ha
  • aarondgoldman: HP had a huge repair service business when their hardware got much more reliable it almost killed the company
  • geekgonecrazy: Never actually considered using CNCF membership as a qualification for using a tool
  • ahl0003: it's the nintendo seal of quality!
  • geekgonecrazy: It’s an interesting thought now that I’ve heard it 🙈 especially for any sort of core utility like this
  • saone: On the topic of patterns that seem to be working, Docker Desktop's license requiring subscriptions for larger organizations for use of their product and focusing on providing a really good developer experience seems to be a really good spot for them to be
  • goodjanet: The term freeloading comes up only when there's a "problem" (usually fiscal in a company/group), the rest of the time the exact same actions are fine or often encouraged
  • mrdanack: I disagree, there are freeloaders. Multi-billion companies like IBM and Oracle have benefited from the PHP project for multiple decades and really haven't contributed even a modest amount back.
  • geekgonecrazy: Anytime hitting CLA I always use that as clue to take hesitation and think about contributing. 🙈
  • quasarken: I love that bit about community Adam
  • blacksmithforlife: https://www.linux.com/news/us-government-opens-access-federal-source-code-codegov/
  • blainehansen: Sometimes a community of passionate contributors is more a burden than a gift. Every project is different, not every project can be supported by many well-paid engineers at vc-funded incentive-aligned companies. I don't think the BUSL is smart or good, but there's a funding/support problem here that legitimately needs to be solved, and the existing open source social contract hasn't solved it. https://www.jeffgeerling.com/blog/2022/burden-open-source-maintainer
  • blacksmithforlife: Disclaimer: I'm a federal employee who tried to get more software open source while I was working at various agencies. For the most part it was soundly ignored and the agencies just claimed it was too hard and they didn't have enough funding to do it, which in my opinion is just false
  • blacksmithforlife: But, if you want it, just do a FOIA, then they have to give it to you
  • saone: There's a great deal of fear at my company that software being open sourced must be carefully vetted to avoid potential embarassment so the hurdles to open source anything are very high
  • girgias: The French government has released code which was pure garbage, and I don't think one can do worse than the APB code
  • geekgonecrazy: That sucks. 😬I can totally see individual developers being afraid. I’ve faced that with my team. Weird to think org would be especially if trusting engineers
  • northrup: Adam to your point though - I don't see how that's any different than other open source projects that aren't corporate backed. No open source projected is obligated to honor your issue to drive a project in a direction, or accept your PR to add a feature or function...
  • ahl0003: Great point!
  • blainehansen: The open source cooperative idea is the best I can come up with to solve the problem
  • blacksmithforlife: What is dev rail?
  • bcantrill: Developer relations
  • ahl0003: developer relations
  • jbk: dev rel(ations)?
  • bcantrill: JYNX
  • blacksmithforlife: Never heard that term before
  • geekgonecrazy: Curious at what scale you think devrel is needed vs the engineers in company directly involved
  • geekgonecrazy: I’ve often wondered if doesn’t create unnecessary barrier between engineers and community. Especially at certain size
  • quasarken: Dev Rel seems a lot like community solutions engineering
  • geekgonecrazy: I’ve personally seen some companies use devrel as sole tie to open source and “community” in place of more of company getting involved
  • rolipo.li: devrel as a service. now it's a consulting firm?
  • northrup: When I worked at GitLab in the early days, some of my most favorite experiences were going to conferences and hanging out in the GitLab booth to answer questions and talk with / help users. SOO much great feedback, clear "oh wow!" edge cases brought forward, and amazing feedback of "yeah, you made this feature, but that wasn't what we needed"
  • ahl0003: I remember liking this book on devrel: https://www.amazon.com/Business-Value-Developer-Relations-Communities/dp/1484237471
  • rolipo.li: > hello world to hello revenue
  • geekgonecrazy: I forget how blessed I’ve been getting to work for company that started as open source project 🙈
  • sevanj: that's a benefit
  • ophilli: Do y'all consider the work you do on Oxide & Friends and On The Metal to be investments in dev rel?
  • ahl0003: I think probably closer to brand marketing... on the cheap?
  • ahl0003: or just a way to keep Bryan off the streets and out of trouble
  • northrup: I was going to say "probably more cathartic for Bryan" 😂
  • rolipo.li: "here's a dead project we found in our version control" punt. thunk.
  • rolipo.li: didn't bryan give a talk about oxide n frens? something about capturing oral history.
  • a172: Bryan's talk on the power of social audio
  • blacksmithforlife: Have you done an episode on subscription software? I really hate how I can't buy something and own it forever (if I really want your upgrades then I'll pay for the next version)
  • rolipo.li: people wanna yoink ur pie? make the pie so big they'll choke.
  • ahl0003: second week in a row that I 'm going to recommend Stephen O'Grady's book: https://www.amazon.com/Software-Paradox-Rise-Commercial-Market/dp/1491900938
  • sevanj: did you see the wipeout rewrites that have been coming out in recent weeks
  • rolipo.li: the oxide github is great
  • goodjanet: i wish more old games were open sourced
  • blacksmithforlife: And their tool chains. When I worked at the library of Congress, it was near impossible to build some of these games because there was no documentation on what tools they used and how to build the software
  • saone: there have been a few (Freespace, Warzone 2100, Red Alert...) but it definitely isn't widespread, and there are ungodly licensing issues surrounding that from what I understand
  • blacksmithforlife: https://blogs.loc.gov/thesignal/2012/09/yes-the-library-of-congress-has-video-games-an-interview-with-david-gibson/
  • geekgonecrazy: CLAs definitely make me take pause. Usually for this exact reason. I know giving them the flexibility to relicense with no warning
  • geekgonecrazy: Fleet was pretty sweet
  • blacksmithforlife: You might also like https://blogs.loc.gov/thesignal/2014/08/dukes-legacy-video-game-source-disc-preservation-at-the-library-of-congress/
  • rolipo.li: BDFL - benevolent dictator for life
  • ahl0003: re: Swift: meet my friend, Perl 6
  • ahl0003: I love Go; I hate Go
  • bcantrill: Kelsey on HN
  • geekgonecrazy: 💯 it’s as much if not more about the people than the software
  • goodjanet: people make things not corporations!
  • kelseyhightower: Thanks for listening and hanging out with us.
If we got something wrong or missed something, please file a PR! Our next show will likely be on Monday at 5p Pacific Time on our Discord server; stay tuned to our Mastodon feeds for details, or subscribe to this calendar. We'd love to have you join us, as we always love to hear from new speakers!

What is Oxide and Friends?

Oxide hosts a weekly Discord show where we discuss a wide range of topics: computer history, startups, Oxide hardware bringup, and other topics du jour. These are the recordings in podcast form.
Join us live (usually Mondays at 5pm PT) https://discord.gg/gcQxNHAKCB
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