Being a Catalyst in Communities - The science behind the open source way

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 from 1:30 – 2:15pm in Broadway


How does Red Hat have wild success with Fedora and other FLOSS projects? By following a method firmly rooted in humanism, practice, and science. Learn in this session how to be an effective catalyst in communities of users, contributors, and businesses.


Red Hat is admired as a successful business that is an effective catalyst in communities, especially free/libre open source software (FLOSS). People look to learn from Red Hat in how to apply those practices to areas beyond software, such as education, business, and social activism.

However, when we look at the way other people have enacted these practices, many have adopted a subset of Red Hat’s methods, but leave out enough to affect their ability to benefit from a purely free/open stance.

Many communities are successful in their domain without any idea of why their methods work. Is it pure luck or art? Or is it really a dose of humanism mixed with a long-practiced, and now well-studied, method of developing communities?

This presentation explores the science behind “communities of practice”, then covers a specific set of guidelines included in a new open, community-written guide, “The Open Source Way: Creating and nurturing communities of contributors”.

Speaking experience