[Themaintainers] Introductions: Don from GitHub

Don Goodman-Wilson degoodmanwilson at github.com
Wed Apr 10 10:08:51 EDT 2019


I’m Don Goodman-Wilson, co-chair of the Software Track for The Maintainers III. I'm a recovering academic now working in the software industry at GitHub. One of my focus areas is discovering the best ways to support the maintainers of open source software (OSS). OSS provides the backbone for our digital lives (for better or worse), but such maintainers are increasingly finding themselves unsupported and under-appreciated. The result is that our digital infrastructure is in an incredibly delicate and precarious place, moreso than many realize.

I discovered The Maintainers at APIdays in Paris last December, where Mehdi and Andrew held a day-long unconference on sustaining maintainers—and I realized pretty quickly that I had found my people. In the Maintainers, I feel like I’ve found kindred souls who understand not only the gravity of the situation, but the urgency to find solutions in partnership with practitioners who really understand the challenges.

There are a lot of places where we could use your experience and expertise. Are there lessons from other disciplines that could be applied to software maintenance? What’s different about maintaining legacy software vs open source software?  Do you know of interesting case-studies we should be aware of? Do _you_ maintain software, and have a story to share? What existing institutions exist that could be extended to cover software, or that might have resources for software maintainers that we aren’t aware of? Does open source as a practice have the deck stacked against it, and maybe we need to fundamentally rethink the way we approach open, collaborative software creation for the public good?

If all this is new to you, there are a lot of interesting resources out there:
• https://github.blog/2019-01-17-lets-talk-about-open-source-sustainability/
• https://medium.com/s/story/exploiting-developer-infrastructure-is-insanely-easy-9849937e81d4
• https://words.steveklabnik.com/the-culture-war-at-the-heart-of-open-source
• https://words.steveklabnik.com/what-comes-after-open-source
(I’d love to read more if you know other recent takes on the current state of open source software!)

Looking forward to seeing you at The Maintainers III!

Developer Advocate, EMEA
degoodmanwilson at github.com
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