Why contribute to open source?

A presentation at Open Source 101 by Tobie Langel

The first open source practitioners were fueled by passion and a sense of purpose. As open source has both professionalized and become more mainstream, this has obviously changed. While the open source ethos and the desire to contribute to the commons may still be very much alive, there are also much more pragmatic considerations at play.

And that’s OK.

In this talk, we’ll look at how—both on an individual and organizational level—contributing to open source can be tied to career and business objectives while still being aligned with community values and culture. We’ll consider the positive impact that open source can have on individual careers, how this impact is still very unevenly distributed, and what important role employers can play to correct this. We’ll then dive into the more strategic benefits that building a strong open source culture can provide to corporations, and how what once appeared to be the realm of hackers, tinkerers, and activists can now also be a huge competitive advantage leveraged by companies of every size across all verticals.

Resources

The following resources were mentioned during the presentation or are useful additional information.

  • The Compound interest of free time

    An article I wrote a while back that explains how open source widens wage and position gaps in tech and what companies can do about it.