KIWI KIWI! The obscene diversity of everyday life in the open source work world.

Short Form


Working in open source constantly forces us to interact with extreme technical diversity and complex inter-dependencies. How do we cope, how do we maintain a sense of wonder, and what are the social consequences?


Given the task of creating a net bootable image and a simple GUI for loading and archiving disk images to our automotive computers, I wound up learning and deploying two tools named “kiwi”. One was OpenSUSE’s Kiwi image building system and the other was the Kivy lightweight GUI framework. It struck me how little they had in common. Then I realized that it was actually a normal experience and that in the open source world we are constantly confronted with extreme diversity and constant exposure to new tools, inter-dependencies, and obstacles.

In this talk I will walk through my “simple” example to demonstrate the technical breadth of the challenges. With this as a backdrop I will discuss the emotional and mental challenge of working in an environment where everything is always different. (Part of the job is to accept, understand, and work with these differences). I will then work through what I have come to call perpetual toddler syndrome to arrive with a sense of wonder. Finally, if we can live in a world where we have to interact with constant change and diverse levels of technical complexity, code quality, and interdependence, why can’t we just be decent to each other?

Speaking experience

Speaking experience includes OSB11 and OSB12 as well as the Open Innovation Conference in Dublin 2012.


  • Photo on 4 11 14 at 9.53 am

    Donald Delmar Davis

    Suspect Devices, Jaguar Landrover - Open Source Technology Center


    Donald Delmar Davis makes Suspect Devices. He is an artist, computer programmer, unix administrator, and musician. While having over 30 years in the industry, he works to remain fresh and open; exploring new ideas and art forms. He is currently employed by Jaguar Landrover’s Open Source Technology Center. Previously he was designing embedded hardware and software for a local start-up. He also produces several embedded open source hardware platforms for novices and artists, and teaches Arduino For Artists at PNCA. Last summer he attended ITP summer camp at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.