November 8th & 9th, 2024
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Building a community for an 11 year old and a multi-national company

SeaGL 2016

This session will look at the importance of container technology from two different angles. Ross Gardler, a veteran open source guy will discuss how Docker has propelled a kernel level technology that is well over a decade old to the point where his 11 year old son is using it. Drawing on over 20 years experience in open source communities this father son duo will demonstrate how a focus on simplicity and utility can drive adoption of, and therefore contributions to, your project.

Zeph (the son) will tell his story - progressing from almost no programming experience to a presentation in front of over 100 people at DockerCon. Ross will tell the same story from the point of view of an open source community. Ross will demonstrate that while Zeph is unlikely to contribute significantly to the open source project (at least for a few years) a focus on onboarding people like Zeph will deliver untold benefits to your project and therefore to your boss and/or your business.

This focus on onboarding is critical to success. Ross will discuss how such an onboarding experience results in the creation of a virtuous circle in which new users create new market opportunities. In a well run open source project these opportunities attract new contributors which leads to innovation in the code. This innovation attracts new users and so the loop is closed.

Ross will draw on his open source experience to identify some approaches for managing this cycle in order to create a long term open source community. Together, Ross and Zeph will demonstrate how caring for “the little guy” whether that be an elementary schoolboy or a 1 person business will ensure you build a community that is up to 10x larger and 5x more profitable than if you were to focus solely on the technology and your companies interests in it.


Ross Gardler

Ross Gardler, Apache Software Foundation

The open source development model has been proven to be an effective way of developing, maintaining and innovating in software. Ross has been in and around open source for over 20 years. He is currently the President of the Apache Software Foundation and works at Microsoft helping bring Linux and open source workloads on Linux to Microsoft Azure through community engagements and contributions.