Last month’s Open Source Bridge, “the conference for open source citizens” in Portland, Oregon, is a volunteer-run event designed for developers working with open source technologies and people interested in open source. Many New Relic employees contributed to this year’s event, but I’d like to offer a big spike of the New Relic graph to Jonan Scheffler from the Ruby agent team, who was deeply involved in the event’s curation, organization, and fundraising.
But Jonan was hardly alone. Check out these highlights from the many Relics who spoke as well as other sessions we attended.
New Relic speakers
Jonan provided a brief tour of the incredibly popular Minecraft game, and walked through some Minecraft tutorials using popular open source projects.
With a little Ruby, Tim made automated musical magic. He created a smooth-jazz-as-a-service (SJaaS) startup, primed to disrupt the stale music industry. “As a first-time speaker at Open Source Bridge, I was blown away by the welcome and warmth provided by the audience for my talk,” Tim notes. “It was a tremendously enjoyable experience, and OSB 2016 is already on my schedule for next year.”
Educational technologist and blended learning expert Mike Caulfield explored classroom and distance learning supported by Ward Cunningham and his four-year-old (and still rapidly evolving) Federated Wiki. It was a great session for those wondering about what’s new from the inventor of the wiki.
If your Ruby code plugs into or extends another gem, “comfortable isolation might be out of the question,” Jason warned attendees. He showed how to check for multiple dependencies and how to deal with dependency changes. He also showed how to verify what Ruby code does when it lands in an environment that hasn’t been tested.
Zoe from New Relic’s site engineering team covered Ruby objects and their internals. She explained class inheritance and method lookup, and then explored how the mysterious eigenclass fits in.
Teaching Concepts of Community and Open Source Within Your Company: Tamao Nakahara, Community Marketing Director
Tamao led this informal “unconference” discussion on the best ways to educate people in your company about the importance of and etiquette of working with developer communities. A topic we care deeply about here at New Relic!
Kyle Drake and Victoria Wang have dedicated their energy to bringing back Geocities through their ad-free Web hosting site called Neocities, which runs on an open source platform. They democratize (again) the ability for almost anyone to have an individualized Web presence instead of an online presence structured within something like Facebook. The two are using their site as an opportunity to teach kids, especially girls, how to code on the platform. They are running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project.
This session led by Rackspace’s Dana Bauer and Mathew Lippincott from Public Lab covered their fascinating work using open source technology, DIY hardware, and community members to enable large-scale community environmental monitoring. The result is the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (publiclab.org), an active community whose members help capture photographic images from 200-foot-high balloons and kites to monitor environmental pollution and its effects on plant life over time.
In this eye-opening session, Washington State University software engineer Amy Boyle explained the sorry state of software tools used in scientific research. These tools are often closed source, poorly documented, and difficult to use and modify across teams. Amy gave examples of how open source practices for research software could be highly beneficial for teams inside an institution as well as for members of the community researching similar topics.
Advanced Community Topics
This “unconference” session led by Britta Gustafson, community manager for iPhone jailbreak marketplace Cydia, addressed important community management topics such as managing expectations, rewarding in ways that don’t create resentment, and how to take a break from intensive community management.
Partying open-source style
Open Source Bridge’s evening entertainment included a concert by the “nerd-folk” duo The Doubleclicks, known for their geek-friendly songs with lyrics about dinosaurs, D&D, lasers, and feelings. Sisters Angela and Aubrey Webber even did a Mad Libs-style song: With the audience’s help, they wrote and sang “Committing to Kumquats.”
New Relic hosted the official OS Bridge Party and provided food and libations. Jonan organized a number of fun activities for the evening, including Japanese calligraphy (led by New Relic’s Brent Miller), Rubik’s Cube solutions (led by New Relic’s Chris Pine), and lock picking (led by our own Mark Tabler and John Hyland).
Thanks again to the Stumptown Syndicate, Jonan, and all the other Relics who helped put on this fantastic event. See you there next year!
Note: Tamao Nakahara and Jackson De Oliveira contributed to this post.