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Contributors, Colleagues, Clients & Customers: Sustaining Open Source Communities (Keynote)


When it comes to open source software, what do you want to be doing? Do you want an occasional hobby where you can have fun contributing back to the community? Have a significant impact on the world by being able to commit full time to growing the available pool of free & open source software? Spend time getting to know the needs of a particular organisation, and applying open source tools to solve their problems? Or perhaps you'd prefer to understand the general needs of a broad category of potential users, and design open source tools that will solve their problems without customisation?

Getting involved in open source development communities can offer all these opportunities and more, but it also makes it incredibly easy for us to overcommit and burn ourselves out. If we're not careful, our unrealistic expectations can also contribute to the burnout of our peers. To ensure sustainability, we need to come to a shared understanding of some of the different ways we can engage with open source communities, what we can reasonably offer for free, and what we should expect to be paid for.


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