Live from Utah, it’s Quaaaaaaaaaaaid!
Taking a tip from Ruth Suehle, who liveblogged/transcribed my session on Open Marketing at Ohio LinuxFest recently, I’ll be transcribing Karsten Wade‘s keynote this evening at UTOSC. We’ll see how it goes (my transcribing, since I know Karsten will kick ass.)
Karsten is speaking on “Barn Raising & musicians on the green – old ideas in a digital world.”
Taking a few moments to lay out his bona fides – why he’s here, etc. Appreciates that the UTOSC folks have invited him. Important part of open transparency to know why he’s here – not just because he’s from a company – he’s been a FOSS advocate for 10 years, starting at VA Linux, then laid off in the scary market days and hired by Red Hat. He’s worked on professional services team, documentation, wrote the original SELinux guide, helped start the Fedora docs project. He works on Red Hat’s community leadership team – they get involved in things near and dear to red hat, either to help solve problems or to continue to help grow.
Questions – who’s comfortable with what open source software is? Can you explain what open source is within about 2 minutes? One minute? Thirty seconds? He did 15 seconds at the train station the other day. He wants to help us understand it better and explain better.
Free <3 Open <3 Free. The basic idea of FOSS is that you have a set of inalienable rights. To study, fix, make modifications, redistribute with modifications, and being able to run software. You need to have all the freedoms you need to be in a freedom situation. None of us are free until all of us are free. If there are restrictions, then you’re really not free.
We all agree that freedom is important – some people think it’s #2 vs. #1 in open source, but we all more or less agree. But he’s not talking just about free software – he’s talking about the Open Source way. He’s going to take us back a bit and apply these ideas – some of which we’ve done for a really long time – and apply them in other areas.
No surprises overview of the talk:
1. I cover terminology about the open source way.
2. I tell stories and ideas that illustrate the open source way
3. We gain common ground on what the open source way is
4. You tell us illustrative stories & examples.
Know the ingredients of the open source way: An infrastructure of sharing (which requireas an infrastructure of participation) + Something to share (which needs someone to share it: participants.)
Communities of practice. (Karsten reads off the long definition from the book!)
Elements of a Community of Practice: Domain (what), Community (Who), Practice (how). Just because someone in a community is silent, doesn’t mean they are not participating.
Principles of Communities of Practice:
1. Design for evolution. The community is going to be thinking about current and new ideas for the future.
2. Open a dialogue ‘tween in/out. Make sure that new people aer able to look in, and old people can look out.
3. Invite different levels of participation. Unless someone is actively destroying the community, let them do it. Experts don’t just parachute in from the sky. Legitimate peripheral participation – anywhere in the circle, they can participate.
4. Develop public / private spaces. Being public is strong for a community, but you can also have private discussion with people – be friends and have private bonding relationships too.
5. Focus on value. There is an intrinsic value people are looking for. Make sure they can see it.
6. Combine familiarity & excitement. You know what’s going to happen, but sometimes, exciting new things happen. Have a sense of rhythm – we still have meetings weekly, or we’ll be at the coffeeshop on Wednesdays, etc.
7. Create a rhythm for the community. (Regular meetings, etc.)
Raising a barn (infrastructure of participation).
Foundations have to be laid to do big things. He was at the train station the other day and someone asked what they were in town for – he said Open Source software is built in the same way that everyone builds a barn. People get together and lay the foundation and do it. When people get together to build barns, they do it the same way they build towns – there are common elements that come back again and again. When they do it right, they feel right – when they do it wrong, people don’t want to be there. Putting the right infrastructure in place. Another common element is the village green.
Musicians on the green (participants sharing). Musicians are singing together, people are listening, you play something interesting, i lay something interesting, and share elements with each other, and even other people who come from far away. It’s almost like friendly competition and learning from each other – sometimes people are friendly about wanting to take and then improvise on each other’s work. At Grateful Dead concerts – people can record and reshare songs within the rest of the community. It’s a tireless ecosystem, a lifestyle ecosystem.
Tom Sawyer is not the open source way. “Say Tom, let me whitewash a little!” Tom is painting and a friend comes along – if he makes the whitewashing look really great, maybe a friend will come help us out. Within a few minutes, his friend is begging, and then later his friends are there helping, all because they think it’s awesome. That’s how a lot of people think Open Source or Red Hat is – but that’s really not how it works. It does happen, but the truth is that the community notices things like that.
“Resonance naturally amplifies even the smallest of properly coordinated incremental impulses.” – Michael Tiemann. He tells the story of his daughter playing with a magnet, and thinking it is broke. He shows her – adds small tugs, one by one, until a huge object is moving back and forth. Rhythm – or every 6 months having a release – just keep on tugging and you can make communities move.
Stories from the audience:
* Neighbors getting together to help each other move.
* Communities solving hard problems – medical research. Communities doing things like raising money to find a cure for cancer.
* The community garden.
Karsten also has a few videos for us to watch!
Thanks to quaid for an awesome session. Hopefully my transcription somewhat resembles what he was trying to get across