The Open Source Advent Calendar

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It’s that time of year again. But I don’t really like chocolate. And there’s only so many times you can do a Lego advent calendar. However, I do really love open source software. So for a change, it’s time to spread some open source software magic.

The Open Source Advent calendar works like a normal advent calendar, but instead of the usual countdown, in this case each day has a specific ‘act of open source goodness’. Whether you are an existing open source committer, a contributor or even a lurker looking to get involved, the open source advent calendar will get you right into the spirit of things. It’s like the Kindness Calendar but for open source software.

We’ll be working as a team at Kichwa Coders to step through the calendar, focusing on the projects we love.  We’re using the hashtag #OpenSourceAdventCalendar to share our acts of open source. We invite you to join us, create an open source ripple effect and make a difference to open source projects everywhere this December!

Download the Open Source Advent Calendar here.

Why You Should Send Flowers To Open Source Developers

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You are probably thinking flowers are dumb: they die and they don’t do anything; they are for dates, weddings and funerals. Besides, open source developers do not need flowers, they need money. But nobody wants to pay for software, let alone open source software. Even though today open source software is as vital as roads and bridges, nobody wants to pay to maintain it.

So by all means let’s figure out a way to get more money for open source developers. But in the meantime, here’s why you should still send flowers.

  1. Flowers show appreciation

Taskwarrior share some great lessons learnt for open source maintainers. This includes cautionary tales like: “People will pick a fight with you about all your incidental choices. Your issue tracker, your branching strategy, your version numbers, the text editor you use, and so on.” Open source developers are a tough bunch, but are still likely to suffer from burnout. Sending flowers is the ultimate gesture of positivity and understanding. Plus there is all sorts of research out there that suggests flowers & plants improve mood and promote creativity in the workplace.

  1. People think you are more capable & emotionally intelligent

If altruistic reasons are not enough, then consider this. The act of giving flowers has benefits for the giver. The act of giving makes people happy. There is also research that says people who send flower are perceived as having higher emotional intelligence, capable and courageous.

  1. You will be a better leader

Small things can make all the difference. This idea is partly inspired by my favourite blogger, who wrote about the effect receiving flowers from Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce had on her. Basically really good leaders are always thinking of thoughtful ways to get the best out of everybody.

OK so now I have a confession to make. Maybe I am telling you this because Kichwa Coders have recently joined the realm of open source maintainers, heading up and contributing to the January project  (numpy & datastructures for Java). And we are gearing up, together with the rest of the Eclipse Science Working Group, for our first major science release. It is an amazing project that will provide tool infrastructure for countless scientific projects. So it will be awesome, but there is still some trepidation when you cross the threshold from open source user to open source maintainer. It is a little bit like how when you have your own kids, you finally really appreciate your parents and wonder how they did it. Right now I am in awe of open source leads and maintainers everywhere. So just do it. Send flowers to open source developers. And while you’re at it, send some to your parents too.

Whose job is it promote diversity in the Eclipse community?

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I received an email inviting me to join a group to help improve diversity at an upcoming EclipseCon. I was surprised at how reluctant I was to help.  My first reaction was ‘I do my bit and it’s just not my job‘. Maybe it hadn’t help I had just been reading research suggesting women and minorities are the ones most penalized for promoting diversity. Nevertheless, the request had come from Alex Schladebeck, someone I have a lot of respect and admiration for and I simply could not say no to her. And I’m really glad I did say yes. One meeting had us all thinking, raised a lot of questions and generated useful suggestions. It also inspired me to look into the topic more thoroughly and I was surprised where the research led me and what the solutions should be. Continue reading “Whose job is it promote diversity in the Eclipse community?”

Eclipse: Open Technology for Everything and Nothing in Particular

Eclipse is so much, much more than an IDE these days. For starters, there are many exciting technologies being developed by the Internet of Things, Science and LocationTech groups. We really need to showcase these to the wider world. This was the excuse to have an event in London bringing together these different technologies and communities for a night of tech and merriment.

The event Eclipse Converge: blending LocationTech, IoT & Science was very generously hosted by Geovation, the Innovation Hub from the Ordnance Survey. We were very grateful for all the team there for help with organising and ensuring this event went off without a hitch. They have a terrific space and laid out quite a spread of food and drink, which set the scene well for our six speakers. Here is the story of the evening, partly-told by the lovely tweets from the community. Continue reading “Eclipse: Open Technology for Everything and Nothing in Particular”

Kichwa Coders Join Eclipse Science Working Group Steering Committee

Kichwa Coders is pleased to announce that we have become a member of the Steering Committee of the Eclipse Science Working Group. Kichwa has been an active member of the Science Working Group from the beginning and its involvement includes:

  • Leading projects related to Python scripting in Eclipse EASE
  • Organizing Eclipse community meetups in London (join us for our next one!)
  • Jonah Graham is project co-lead for the January Project for common data structures.
  • Tracy Miranda is on the Program Committee promoting the Science track for Eclipsecon France

Tracy Miranda will represent Kichwa Coders as the Steering Committee participant. The current Steering Committee is made up of members from IBM, Diamond Light Source, Oakridge National Labs and Itema. Kichwa Coders look forward to working closely with other Steering Committee members to shape the future direction of the group and encourage other organizations to participate in this vibrant ecosystem where advancing open-source software advances science.