Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Libre Planet 2010

I took a redeye out of SFO and landed in BOS at 7:30am EST. I got into a cab with a driver who kept bugging me about paying cash even though I insisted I wanted to pay with my credit card. I arrived at 1 Oxford St., Cambridge, MA. at 8:15am for Libre Planet 2010. Needless to say, I was a bit tired already.

Leslie arrived later in the morning and we spent some time catching up. I reviewed the agenda for the weekend, saw the introduction, and stuck around for the Intro to the Command Line class. Having just announced accepted orgs for Google Summer of Code™ 2010, I was still responding to emails and trying to fix problems where we found them.

I met Selena very early in the day. We spent some time standing outside Hall D and charging our laptops, making presentations, and gabbing. Unfortunately my brain was slowly shutting down from lack of sleep and a bit of stress from the previous days. I decided to stay for a few more hours and then left after lunch. I checked into my hotel and got some sleep. I left the hotel feeling significantly more human than when I went into it.

Dinner with the Women of Free Software was great. I met some amazing women who are really doing some great things for free software and the community as a whole right now. I'm really looking forward to seeing them again and working with them on all manner of topics. I went to bed on Friday night thoroughly excited about the opportunities now presenting themselves for me.

Saturday was full of some great topics. Discussions throughout the weekend ranged from "should you pro-actively justify your use of proprietary software or hardware if you have an arm of your business that advertises its use of free software" to "what is the best way to get yourself recognized for your contributions to the community without the use of a patent?"

I think the best topics came on Sunday, though. Deb had arranged an entire track of topics on Sunday related to Women in Free Software and I found it incredibly useful. Selena did a talk on "50 Ways to Love Your Project" and I am now tempted to ask her if I can crib some of the presentation because it was so wonderful. I think encouraging people to give back to FOSS in more ways than just coding is really important if we want to continue to build the community.

Most important of all, though, I spent some time really thinking about how I feel about all these issues of privacy, freedom, and open now that I am apart of the community. It was a great learning experience for me and I hope to get to go back next year.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Making My Way in Open Source

I have to admit, I didn't plan to be here right now.

I spent a couple minutes a couple years ago looking around jobs at Google that random people were doing and came across the Summer of Code program. I knew that Summer of Code happened, vaguely, somewhere in the regions of Google I Didn't Participate In. I thought it was an amazing program, an amazing group of people, and not something I would ever get to participate in first-hand. Little did I know.

Around the same time I met another amazing guy named Rob Kaye of the MusicBrainz project. We saw each other in some of the same social circles but never really talked business. He knew I worked at Google, I knew he worked at Open Source, it was just one of those things.

Rob came to me a few months ago and said he'd lost the Treasurer and Secretary of his BOD. Would I like to do it? Sure, I said. I had experience as a project manager and an admin, so taking notes, getting people to do stuff, and running numbers was really up my alley. It was a fortuitous move - just around the same time I had a lunch with Leslie Hawthorn on a whim.

Talking to Leslie made me so excited. It got me back into the mindset of "I want to change the world and I just need to figure out how" and here was my opportunity. The more I learned about Open Source the more I felt like I could change the world. I really wanted to join the team. I told Leslie that and came and sat on her couch in Mountain View to prove my devotion to the cause.

Now I'm here and just the experiences I had in the last couple months in the midst of my transition to the team have been outstanding. The people I've met, the emails I've received, the happiness and the thankfulness of the community is just astounding. If I can give these people a fraction of what they've already given me I will have changed at least my own world.