Evan Phoenix at Mountain West Ruby Conf

March 31, 2008 Chad Woolley

I just attended (and thoroughly enjoyed) the Mountain West Ruby Conf, where Evan Phoenix gave a powerful keynote speech.

He talks about the status of Rubinius, and makes some profound observations on modern open source culture and community.

Here’s some highlights, but if you participate in open source, and especially if you help run an open source project, I highly recommend that you watch the video:

  • Community: Rubinius’ Giant Spec Suite, and its value not only as a living language specification for different implementations of Ruby itself, but as a “gateway drug” which provides a low barrier to get new contributors addicted to open source.
  • Trust: Asking for forgiveness vs. permission, and the Rubinius commit policy, where any accepted patch gets you commit rights. You can always roll back a change, and debate is healthy.
  • Worth: The impact of annoying fifteen year olds who make a lot noise versus “core” contributors.
  • Ego: You are not the project, Mr. Ego! The importance of being wrong and admitting your faults in public.
  • Innovation: Fostering innovation and debate vs closely holding the mythical “Keys to the Castle”.

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