Online / 6 & 7 February 2021


Contributing (with) civil servants

How government and public sector open source projects and contributors are different from individual and corporate ones.

The open source is getting mature and there are a lot of established ways of behavior, expectations even, that both contributors and maintainers of a codebase have. Some of these expectations are explicit in contributing files, whereas others are implicit and more of a cultural behaviour we as a group have taken on over the years. Governments and civil servants come from a very different background and when they start developing publishing software in the open under a free licenses, these cultures may meet, and sometimes even clash. We know that individual volunteer contributors differ from corporate contributors, how do public workers as contributors fit into this.

How public workers contribute has to do with how they operate, and how the society expect them operate in other fields of their operation. If not understood properly, this can lead to frustration of a FOSS contributor who want to make a useful contribution to a codebase developed by a public organization. In this talk we will try to give you the tools and the mindset that will help you succeed when submitting those merge requests.

"As a volunteer I am making contributions to a codebase managed by a public organization and it's behaving differently than the FOSS I am used to and here is why and how to adapt."


Photo of Boris van Hoytema Boris van Hoytema