JA-SIG Conference: Matt Asay Keynote

> “Connected world, Connected Software”, “Open source produces better software” (81% of respondents via Gartner)

Matt’s perspective on focusing innovation on the “last mile” plays well with my thoughts on focusing on delivering institutional value. It’s interesting in that he combines that perspective with the pitch that open-source empowers you to build software to suit your needs, as opposed to being at the mercy of a vendor. For all that we spend time trying to prevent forking (in a good way :), I do agree with his perspective that forking is perhaps the definitive open-source right.

2 interesting facts mentioned:

> Research shows that 85-100% of core development work is done by less than 15 core developers. 55% of projects get no outside involvement, 72% have less than 2 developers.

The implication of this seems to be a need for projects to enable “drive by development” to gradually expand the circle of contributors. Modular architectures, anything that enables the same people who would contribute small patches or other pieces.

70% GPL “marketshare” for licensing in open-source. It’s funny that as a Java developer, Apache looms so large, but that’s an interesting number to consider in terms of the dynamics of free software. Also, given the uncertainties behind Apache+GPL, makes uPortal’s new-BSD license possibly more of an asset than we would have thought.

Conclusion: “Capitalist Manifesto.” Matt posits that open-source has a huge opportunity in higher education. Both because open-source is easiest to examine, teach, and learn from, but also because we have more interest and ability to share — administrative IT systems typically aren’t a differentiator in Higher Education…

Matt has 10 commandments:

1. engage and put community before cash
2. don’t treat communities like tools
3. don’t make open-source a gimmick
4. partner with community/commercial projects
5. respect the norms of open-source, and community culture
6. fit the license to the desired outcome
7. don’t expect open-source to be easy or a panacea, it will amplify successes *and* failures
8. innovate on and with open-source communities
9. encourage students to experiment
10. start today