Open Source Contribution Policies That Don't Suck

A presentation at Open Source Summit Europe in in Edinburgh, UK by Tobie Langel

Open source contribution policies are long, boring, overlooked documents, that generally suck. They're designed to protect the company at all costs. But in the process, end up hurting engineering productivity, and morale. Sometimes they even unknowingly put corporate IP at risk.

But that's not inevitable.

It's possible to write open source contribution policies that make engineers lives easier, boost morale and productivity, reduce attrition, and attract new talent. And it's possible to do so while reducing the company's IP risk, not increasing it.

In this talk, we'll look at the general structure of contribution policies, examples in the wild, and tactics to make them suck less.

We'll also look at how to turn these policies into self-service software, preventing the tedious email back and forth between engineering and legal in most cases and making open source contribution a breeze.