Lessons From X*
Lessons I've learned from 25 years of participation in perhaps the longest-running end-user-facing Open Source project.
The X Window System has, until recently, been essentially the only open source graphical infrastructure for desktop development. I want to share with you some lessons I’ve learned from 25 years of participation in perhaps the longest-running end-user-facing Open Source project. With the desktop apparently in decline, it seems like a good time to discuss lessons in open source architecture, governance, evolution and dissemination that can be drawn from X.
My talk will begin with a brief history of X. This will be used as a basis for discussing topics including: a model for initiating a large open source project; the several styles of X governance—what worked and what did not; planning for and executing large step changes in the open source model; getting open source out there.
I've given perhaps 50 invited talks, including a half-dozen at Open Source Bridge. This talk is new material, but I have given related talks at the X.Org Developers Conference (http://lwn.net/Articles/518232/) and with Keith Packard at Google (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oFxhqYn-g0).
Portland State University
Bart Massey has been geeking around with community computing for 35 years, and has been involved in Free Software and Open Source since its inception. For the past 15 years, he has been a CS Prof at Portland State University, where he works in open tech, software engineering, artificial intelligence and low-level software development.
Bart’s titles include Member of the PSU MCECS Innovation Program Board and past Secretary of the X.Org Foundation Board. Bart is the architect of the X library XCB, a modern replacement for Xlib, and the author of the XCB image extension. His current open tech interests include Haskell, open hardware and building bridges between pieces of the open tech community. He was one of the original participants in the Open Source Bridge conversation.