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The Changelog The Changelog #350

Boldly going where no data tools have gone before

Computer Scientist Yaw Anokwa joins the show to tell us how Open Data Kit is enabling data collection efforts around the world. From monitoring rainforests to observing elections to tracking outbreaks, ODK has done it all. We hear its origin story, ruminate on why it’s been so successful, learn how the software works, and even answer the question, “are people really using it in space?!” All that and more…

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Ned Batchelder nedbatchelder.com

The 'why' and 'how' of corporations and open source

Ned Batchelder: if you want someone to do something, you have to give them a compelling reason to do it, and you have to make it as easy as possible for them to do it. That is, you need to have good answers to Why? and How? Let’s look at the Why and How model as it applies to corporations funding open source. They don’t do it because the answers to Why and How are really bad right now. I interviewed Ned for an upcoming maintainer-focused series of The Changelog. He’s been in the game a long time and has a lot of interesting things to say.

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André Staltz staltz.com

Software below the poverty line

André Staltz collected data from OpenCollective and GitHub so he could get some numbers behind his questions around the sustainability of donations in open source. The results I found were shocking: there were two clearly sustainable open source projects, but the majority (more than 80%) of projects that we usually consider sustainable are actually receiving income below industry standards or even below the poverty threshold. Read his full piece to learn about his collection methodology and read his full analysis of the findings.

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The Changelog The Changelog #349

The state of CSS in 2019

We’re talking with Sacha Greif to discuss the State of CSS survey and results. CSS is evolving faster than ever. And, coming off the heels of their annual State of JavaScript survey, they’ve decided to take on the world of styles and selectors to help identify the latests patterns and trends in CSS. We talk through the history and motivations of this survey, the methodology of their data collection, the tooling involved to build and run the survey, and of course we dig deep into the survey results and talk through the insights we found most interesting.

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Elixir fullstackradio.com

🎧 Jerod talks Elixir and Phoenix on Full Stack Radio

Adam Wathan was gracious enough to invite me on Full Stack Radio to discuss why and how we built this very platform that I’m using to write and you’re using to read. Most of the show focuses on Elixir itself, with topics ranging from pattern matching and immutability to the pipe operator and deployment. Adam also got me to confess a dirty little secret… I still don’t really know what GenServers are! 😱

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Mozilla Icon Mozilla

Mozilla has published their 2019 Internet Health Report

The report focuses on 5 questions about the internet. Is it safe? How open is it? Who is welcome? Who can succeed? Who controls it? The answer is complicated, and the report doesn’t make any particular conclusions so much as share a series of research & stories about each topic. Includes some fascinating looks at what’s going on in AI, inclusive design, open source, decentralization and more.

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Sophie Alpert Increment

The benefits (and costs) of corporate open source

Sophie Alpert writes on Increment: Releasing and maintaining an open-source project at a corporation takes a lot of work. I saw this firsthand working for four-plus years on React, a popular open-source JavaScript library developed by Facebook. Many companies hope that releasing an open-source project will pay dividends in the form of code contributions from people outside the organization—but I’ve never seen that work in practice. Responding to issues, answering usage questions, carefully planning release schedules: It all takes time. Even code contributions, despite their reputation as the big reward that’s supposed to make corporate open source worthwhile, are rarely the panacea they’re made out to be. If you’re looking to optimize your company’s open source development strategy, read this!

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Stephen Wolfram blog.stephenwolfram.com

Free Wolfram Engine for developers

From Stephen Wolfram himself on his personal blog: Why aren’t you using our technology? It happens far too often. … Sometimes the answer is yes. But too often, there’s an awkward silence, and then they’ll say, “Well, no. Could I?” Here’s the kicker for open source developers… If you’re making a free, open-source system, you can apply for a Free Production License. In the license it says “Open-source projects approved by Wolfram,” which seems like they’re going to maintain a list of approved projects, but Stephan mentioned that they’re still working out the kinks in usage and licensing and they “are committed to providing predictable and straightforward licensing for the long term.”

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Alanna Irving medium.com

Babel’s rise to financial sustainability

Check out this interview from Alanna Irving (Open Source Collective Executive Director) with Henry Zhu sharing the backstory of what went well for Babel to reach financial sustainability. Our ultimate goal was to help the project thrive. My personal goal was to help fund Logan, given he was working on his own time, and I figured that if I ever quit my job I might get funded someday too (which has now happened). I knew we would need some momentum and time for that to be possible, so we decided to make a start. When we first started the Babel Collective, we weren’t even bringing in $1k/month. Slowly we built up to $4k/month, which is when I left my job to focus on Babel. Recently our budget looks a lot bigger thanks to a $100,000 grant from Handshake, which we split out as $10k/month. Once that’s over, the total will be around $20k/month. Also, check out Alanna’s book — Better Work Together

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The Changelog The Changelog #345

Quirk and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

We’re talking with Evan Conrad — for most of Evan’s life he has suffered from severe panic attacks, often twice per week. Eventually he stumbled upon a therapy method called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT for short, and saw positive results. This led him to create Quirk, an open source iOS app which allows its users to practice one of the most common formats of CBT. On the show we mentioned a new podcast we’re launching called Brain Science — it’s hosted by Adam Stacoviak and Mireille Reece, a Doctor of Clinical Psychology. Brain Science is a podcast for the curious that explores the inner-workings of the human brain to understand behavior change, habit formation, mental health, and the human condition. It’s Brain Science applied — not just how does the brain work, but how do we apply what we know about the brain to better our lives. Stay tuned after the show for a special preview of Brain Science. If you haven’t yet, right now would be a great time to subscribe to Master at changelog.com/master. It’s one feed to rule them all, plus some extras that only hit the master feed.

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JS Party JS Party #74

When in doubt, log an issue

Nick and Mikeal catch up with Henry Zhu, the maintainer of Babel and host of the Maintainers Anonymous and Hope in Source podcasts. We discuss his path to open source maintainer-ship. We also chat about best practices for interacting with maintainers, while remembering that people are behind open source, and we talk self-care and avoiding burnout, culminating in a self-care repo being created to gather and discuss tips to care for yourself.

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The Changelog The Changelog #344

Inside the 2019 infrastructure for Changelog.com

We’re talking with Gerhard Lazu, our resident ops and infrastructure expert, about the setup we’ve rolled out for 2019. Late 2016 we relaunched Changelog.com as a new Phoenix/Elixir application and that included a brand new infrastructure and deployment process. 2019’s infrastructure update includes Linode, CoreOS, Docker, CircleCI, Rollbar, Fastly, Netdata, and more — and we talk through all the details on this show. This show is also an open invite to you and the rest of the community to join us in Slack and learn and contribute to Changelog.com. Head to changelog.com/community to get started.

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Yegor Bugayenko yegor256.com

How to write an elegant README for your GitHub repo

Some time ago I wrote a blog post An Open Code Base Is Not Yet an Open Source Project where I suggested a few important qualities of a good open source repository/project. One of them was the well-written README file. Here I will try to give a few hints on how to create a good README file and what mistakes to avoid. A solid README is a must-have for all open source projects. Thankfully, many folks have been taking their READMEs more seriously as of late. If you’re one of ‘em, check out this post and see if there’s anything you can improve.

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The Changelog The Changelog #343

Running functions anywhere with OpenFaaS

We’re talking with Alex Ellis, the founder of OpenFaaS — serverless functions made simple for Docker and Kubernetes. We talked about the back story and details of OpenFaaS, “the curious case of serverless on Kubernetes,” the landscape of open source serverless platforms, how Alex is leading and building this community, getting involved, and maintainership vs leadership.

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Matt Holt caddyserver.com

Caddy 1.0, Caddy 2, and Caddy Enterprise 😱

Some big news coming from Matt Holt and team behind the Caddy web server. Today, I am pleased to make a series of interconnected announcements, which marks a new beginning for the Caddy project and new opportunities for your websites and services: Caddy 1.0 released Reunified licensing Caddy 2 and Caddy Enterprise are now in development Partnership with Ardan Labs Should we get Matt on Go Time soon to talk through the details?

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Mike McQuaid mikemcquaid.com

Stop mentoring first-time contributors

According to Mike McQuaid, the focus of an open source maintainer should be learning to mentor efficiently — where should you be investing your time? If you’re an open source maintainer lucky enough to have a significant number of contributors you need to learn to mentor efficiently. First timer issues are not the right good way to get people involved in your project nor mentoring individual first-time contributors. Instead, do things that help all of them.

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