Open Source: Power and the Passion

Short Form


Open Source is one of the foundation pillars of our industry. You probably use the power of open source software every day: in the code you write, the tools you build with, the servers you deploy to.

But perhaps it’s not quite the stable foundation we were hoping for? This talk will cover the various strengths and weaknesses of both open source and our reliance upon it, so we can trade in our assumptions for a greater awareness of the issues. Then together, we can find a path towards a more sustainable open source ecosystem.


Open source software is a critical part of how we as developers do our jobs, and yet there are aspects of this reliance that we often don’t consider.

This talk will address four key aspects of the open source ecosystem:

  • the amazing power and advantages that we have gained from leveraging off open source software,
  • the passion that so often drives development of open source software,
  • the privilege that is required to have the opportunity to contribute to open source software,
  • and the political nature of open source software: essentially, giving away labour for free in a capitalist/market-driven society.

This increased awareness will then lead into some thoughts about what a more sustainable open source ecosystem could look like, and what we can/should be doing to get us to such a position.


Open Source, ecosystem, power, passion, privilege, politics

Speaking experience

I'm lucky enough to have spoken at several conferences around the world, including RailsConf, RubyConf AU, and Euruko. Videos and notes for some of those talks can be found on my website:

I've not yet given this particular talk anywhere else, but it has just been accepted for a conference on the east coast of the US in early June (deliberately vague because they've not yet made any public announcements).

And with regards to the topic: I've been contributing to open source (both my own projects and others) for about 10 years, on large and small projects with various levels of popularity.


Leave a private comment to organizers about this proposal