From Open Governance to Collective Ownership

A presentation at Open edX Conference in April 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal by Tobie Langel

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Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen tobie@unlockopen.com From Open Governance to Collective Ownership Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen tobie@unlockopen.com

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! “Would you like to come to Lisbon…” Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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” “…to give a keynote.” Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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“The irony of trying to solve the problem of collective ownership, alone from this stage isn’t lost on me.”

Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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$ “How do we build collective ownership?” BoF session on Friday 3:30pm - 5:00pm Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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You did it! Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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% We’ll start with a bit of theory 1. The importance of collective ownership*. 2.Why does it matter concretely? 3.What part open governance plays in that.

  • collective ownership ~= community-owned ~= community-driven Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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So… what is open source? Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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Why is community so important? Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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Why is community so important? & From a business perspective. Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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“But I can always fork!” Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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In practice, only the forks from very large players or tightlyknit communities succeed. Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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Why is community so important? & From a business perspective. Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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It protects your business investment. Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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Like licensing, open governance is necessary but not sufficient to enable community-driven open source. Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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Community-driven open source is built collaboratively, in the open, and on an equal footing. Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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% In summary Community-driven open source is the combination of: 1. an open source license, 2. open governance, and 3. norms and practices that enable open collaboration on a level playing field. Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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% In summary Community-driven open source is the combination of: 1. an open source license, 2. open governance, and 3. norms and practices that enable open collaboration on a level playing field. ’ ( Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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% In summary …this matters because community-driven open source is: 1. frankly just a lot more fun, 2. more resilient—and so safer to adopt—and 3. Helps create better software. Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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) We’re done with the theory now. Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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  • Impact of “exit to community” 1. Concrete changes 2. Outline the work ahead Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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  • Relationship shift • Before: client/vendor relationship between edX and the community. • Now: all equals with tCRIL as the orchestrator of this community. Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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, Product / Project distinction • Before: product and project decisions were made within the same closed group. • Now: Specifics still to be decided, but it’s going to be very different, e.g.: • Split between product and engineering as Open edX becomes more of an infrastructure project? • tCRIL takes on a Product Management role? Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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Relationship with teachers & learners • Before: product decisions could be data-driven and informed by user studies, etc. • Now: who’s going to run those and how is this data going to be shared with the community? Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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  • Huge opportunity for tCRIL to innovate. Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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. Assignment 1. 2U/edX 2. The broader community 3. tCRIL Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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/ 2U/edX • Accept that you will have to trade some development velocity to enable a level playing field. • Internally: spell out the business value of a thriving Open edX community. • On a day to day basis, resist the temptation of: • giving fishes away instead of teaching others how to fish, and • taping your colleague on the shoulder to resolve internally a problem that concerns the broader community. Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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0 The Broader community • Understand that community-driven open source projects are “do-ocracies”—those that do get to decide. • Internally: spell out the business value of contributing to Open edX. • Resist the temptation of: asking for fishes instead of figuring out how to fish. Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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  • tCRIL • So. Much. To. Do. • Did I mention the BoF session en Friday? • Huge opportunity. • You have great talent, ambition, and… money!? Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen

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1 Thank you! Tobie Langel (@tobie) Principal, UnlockOpen tobie@unlockopen.com