Diversity means Open Source for a New Generation

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Last month the Eclipse Foundation announced a new Diversity & Inclusion Champion, Thea Aldrich. I did cartwheels in my head when I heard the news. Why? Because I can’t do cartwheels in real life. But seriously, this is really a BIG DEAL.

When it comes to open source communities like Eclipse, you don’t need big data to know there is a diversity problem, you just have to show up to an EclipseCon and look around.

While this has been the case for years, recently there has been a change. Maybe it’s down to more consciousness of the issues or maybe more maturity in the community, but people have noticed and want to do something about it.  About a year ago, a grassroots effort led by Alex Schladebeck was started with the renewed goal of improving diversity in the community and at conferences. I was honoured to be part of the small but effective team. One big goal of ours was simply to raise awareness and start an open conversation about issues surrounding diversity. We did just that, through:

  • Writing: blog post, after blog post, after blog post
  • Speaking: I do a diversity talk ‘7 Habits of Highly Diverse Communities’, which has been well received and requested by other open source communities.
  • Online Discussions: we have a dedicated Mattermost channel at Eclipse for the topic, plus several web conferences.
  • In Person Discussions: we have had Diversity BOFs at EclipseCons, as well as addressed the Eclipse Board of Directors & Members’ meeting.

And we’ve been learning a lot along the way, such as when we tried and failed to secure a woman keynote speaker for one of the conferences. However,the best thing about all this has been how the rest of the community has responded. People have shown up, got involved, asked questions, challenged things (I expect nothing less of developers!) and offered support.

Throughout this, and even from the beginning, we have always wondered how we can sustain these efforts and indeed how we can expand them to do more. There is no quick fix for promoting diversity, more just a continuous and determined set of steps in the right direction. And in reality it would never work long term without someone dedicated to spearheading the changes.

So that is why, in less than a year after we implored the Foundation to make this happen, they listened, took us seriously and did it! Not just that, the Eclipse Foundation now becomes an Open Source Foundation investing in change, with a dedicated role to diversity. We can hope this becomes a must-have role for every open source foundation out there.

I’ve always said how much I love this community because of the ability to adapt to changing environments, and here is more proof. Thea has already kicked off efforts on multiple fronts:

  • Identifying ways in which all Eclipse events are inclusive events and welcoming,
  • Rolling out an ambassador program to involve the community in welcoming newcomers into the ecosystem,
  • Reaching out to established projects to see how we can support their efforts,
  • Making all Eclipse Foundation websites and resources easier to navigate for native non-English speakers,
  • Providing the community with a direct path to Foundation staff for ideas, complaints, feedback and other issues that our community or members may encounter.

We look forward to working with Thea, the Foundation and community on all these aspects to keep making improvements and bring about a real change.I will continue to do what I can, which includes running for a seat on the Board of Directors. Having this new focus and investment in diversity means we can look forward to bringing open source to a whole new generation of developers.

The Sound of the Universe @ EclipseCon Europe 2016

At EclipseCon this year I heard the sound of the universe. And it was awesome and breathtaking. To be precise, it was the sound of two black holes colliding over a billion years ago,  part of the enthralling final keynote from Dr Benno Wilke on detecting gravitational waves. It was a fitting way to end a conference that had kicked off with another amazing keynote:  Stephen Carver delivering a powerful and emotional story of the people and tech behind the space shuttle disasters, framed in profound lessons on real communication and avoiding silo thinking.

For the very first time at EclipseCon Europe we held a CDT summit. Over 10 years ago I had the honour of being the first developer from Europe involved in CDT, so to bring the summit to Europe was a particularly special moment for me, especially with our renowned project co-lead Doug Schaefer in attendance. The summit was a success, particularly welcoming contributors from the wider community into the fold, and will definitely something we will be doing again next year.

As this year’s focus there was also a big community focus on diversity and raising awareness on this topic. The activity included my talk on ‘7 Habits of Highly Diverse Communities‘, addressing the board on the topic and a diversity BOF session. The discussions were great, lots of good energy, practical suggestions and I am so proud to see the community work together to ensure we can be as open and inclusive as possible.

The Science Working Group had good reason to celebrate at the conference: we have just completed our very first simultaneous release of five projects. A significant milestone for this nascent group, and was terrific to talk about the projects to the rest of the community.

There was an incredible amount on at the conference this year, the best way to get a quick taste was hearing what people enjoyed: language servers, Xtext, Sirius, scripting, IoT & testing were topics that kept coming up. On a personal level, it was my most intense EclipseCon yet with three talks, a BOF and a summit to organize. On the whole it was the busiest conference yet with a record attendance of 619. The most important thing is always the people: lots of new and old friends to talk to and exchange energy. At EclipseCon this year I heard the sound of the Eclipse universe. And it was awesome and breathtaking.

(A version of this article was first published on jaxenter.com: https://jaxenter.com/eclipsecon-europe-at-a-glance-129883.html)

Suspicious Semicolon: CDT at EclipseCon France 2016

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The CDT project was well represented in Toulouse this year.

CDT Latest & Greatest

Jonah Graham gave a CDT overview with CDT: Latest & Greatest Tooling for C/C++. Mostly hands-on, Jonah used the C-implementation of the Python interpreter to demonstrate how to set-up, build and debug a substantial sized project with CDT.

 

This included showing some of the new features in Neon like suppressing Codan warnings and the enhanced memory view. Jonah also talked about the upcoming features including the new GDB console and improved multicore breakpoint support. Continue reading “Suspicious Semicolon: CDT at EclipseCon France 2016”

Join us at EclipseCon France 2016

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Kichwa Coders are looking forward to EclipseCon France this June in lovely Toulouse.

We’ve teamed up with Christian Pontesegger to deliver the first ever EASE Python Scripting workshop. We’re looking forward to helping folks use scripting to really make the most out of their IDE. There are  also lots of other great workshops at the conference: Tracy Miranda, as part of the program committee,  has written a summary of them here.

Jonah Graham will be speaking at the conference on “CDT: Latest & Greatest Tooling for C/C++“. Join us to keep up to date about all things CDT.

And finally, we’ll be sticking around for the Unconference (on the 10th) with the Science Working Group. We’re currently making plans for a code sprint (or two). Everybody’s welcome to join!

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”