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Maintaining Sanity

  • Jul 9, 2013 · 7:00 PM
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Nathaniel stumbled into being a maintainer on a big open source project pretty much by accident; he was contributing patches a lot and didn't want to be a nuisance, so he asked for commit privileges. At first he was just expediting his own patches, but then there were all these outstanding issues, and before he knew it he was a top committer on the project.

Being a maintainer is fun, but it can also be annoying and exhausting. Nathaniel will talk about the things that he’s struggled with as a maintainer and the workflow he’s developed over time to keep himself sane. There will be Git tips gleaned from kernel maintainers, ideas on encouraging contributions without feeling the need to accept every patch, straight talk on avoiding burnout, and most importantly Nathaniel will try to get across the joy that comes from being instrumental in moving a useful piece of software forward.

Not an open source maintainer and have no plans to ever be one? You should still come, since everything Nathaniel will talk about will also help you be a better open source contributor as well!

Nathaniel enjoys making things go at Spreedly, tickling his six kids, and taking long walks in the mountains with his wife. He is the original author of Test::Unit and is a current maintainer of Active Merchant. If you want to know more than that, the NSA apparently knows all about him.

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  • Edward A.

    The Discourse.org discussion boards are pretty amazing as far as web forums go. It was developed by the same people who did StackOverflow. It integrates with GitHub auth, is open source and can be extended, and seems like it could be a good fit for use for discussion for open source projects.

    July 12, 2013

    • Brandon M.

      Looks promising but do they have a mechanism for posting patches that I can apply to my repo?

      July 13, 2013

  • Nathaniel T.

    Hey Hal, thanks for chiming in! I'm glad the talk was helpful.

    IRC is great for chat, but what I'm looking for is asynchronous, mailing list style communication; basically what the Linux Kernel has in http://vger.kernel.org/ but available for any open source project, with modern design, and tightly integrated to Github.

    Currently most open source projects seem to either use Google Groups or a hosting service like Sourceforge. I've found both to be very lackluster.

    July 11, 2013

    • Hal T.

      Thanks for the clarification, and good to see you again last night!

      July 12, 2013

  • Nathaniel T.

    Google Groups - confusing sign up process (Google accounts... yah), ugly and actively unusable web interface, no integration with code tools, no one profiting from improving or keeping the product running, poor spam control (either no real filtering or moderate everything), etc., etc., etc. Basically Google doesn't really care about the product from what I can tell, and beyond that I think software development would benefit from a mailing list solution tailored to it.

    July 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Just curious. What are some of the issues with Google groups?

    July 11, 2013

  • Hal T.

    First off, thanks for welcoming me. I really enjoyed attending my first of these, learned a lot from Nathaniel, and hope to meet more of you soon.
    Nathaniel mentioned his frustration with the communication tools provided on github for providing the ability to simply chat and discuss the status or thoughts around a project without necessitating a new "issue" or "ticket" which creates a itch that can only be scratched by closing it down! Well, I'm very new to this, but perhaps the Internet Relay Chat provides such a resource? Check it out and let me know -- credit to Jason Hibbets of Red Hat who shared this with me: http://www.irc.org/ http://www.irchelp.org/
    Best regards,
    Hal

    July 11, 2013

  • Hiro A.

    Very nice presentation. One takeaway is "use hub".

    July 10, 2013

  • Adam W.

    Honestly, one of the most useful talks I've seen in a while. Maybe I need to get out more.

    July 10, 2013

  • Jason H

    Loved seeing the workflow and hub.

    July 10, 2013

  • Steve G.

    Well done Nathaniel! Thank you! It inspires us "contributor-wannabees" to get more involved!

    July 10, 2013

  • Mark W.

    First rate talk. In addition to the great speaker, the organizers and hosts have done an excellent job.

    July 9, 2013

  • Trent A.

    Good presentation Nathanial...thanks!

    July 9, 2013

  • Andrew S.

    Very interesting presentation. Great intro to maintaining Open Source project

    July 9, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Excellent talk. Looking forward to the next Brigade.

    July 9, 2013

  • Ken A.

    Sorry... personal stuff came up.

    July 9, 2013

  • TJ S.

    I'll miss this month. :(

    July 8, 2013

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