Sustainable Free, Libre and Open Source Software

Sustain Open Source Software is a one day un-conference. It aims to bring together maintainers and supports of open source software projects. We work on common challenges and share resources. The first one SustainOSS happened last Monday at GitHub HQ in San Francisco . There were around 100 people gathered to discuss sustainability in open source software. We had maintainers from all across the board. From software projects that are in the barebones of the Internet to people that have been working in the space for the last 20 years.

What makes a project sustainable?

The first session was to create a common ground on what we mean by sustainable open source project AND sustainable ecosystem.
Sustainability does not mean profitable and does not necessary involves a business model.
To be maintainable some of the points we discussed are:
  • the project solves a need
  • it is moving forward and have an active community
  • there is a team behind the project and not a “solo maintainer”
  • it has a clear mission
  • there is a culture of collaboration
  • the maintainers are responding to requests, questions, comments, pull requests.
  • there is a vision and a response to change
  • documentation is one of the main features of the project
  • commitment of the team involved in the project
  • culture of knowledge share
  • high engagement of its community
  • there is a pipeline between new contributions to core contributions
  • there is a plan for resources and not necessarily monetary ones
  • transparency
  • there is a governance model
Sustainability of open source projects means sustainability of the open source ecosystem!

How diversity and inclusion affects the sustainability of an Open Source Project?

The statement we got from the conversation is the that at least we need a safe space in open source projects. It seems so bare bones. And at the same time if we do not have a place where people can thrive and contribute then they will not take part in the community.
– how to make the community more inclusive?
– how to make more diverse voices into our community?
If you want to grow a community you need to hear all the voices in the room. For people that are not used to this it could be uncomfortable. And many people may fight against it. As a white male, what can you do to help? You can look at yourself and not run away when feeling uncomfortable. You can step in when somebody is being targed, not as a white knight but as an ally.
– how the diversity of the team affects the product that it is being build?
For example, if you are developing a product where the user has to select their gender and you are only giving them two options, you are taking assumptions on the user’s gender that does not corresponds to you. We need diverse teams to have diverse opinions and direction in the products/software we build. And diversity also in the leadership and decision making of the software.
There are tools and workshops to sensibilize people in your team about the need for diversity and to look at your biases:
. code of conducts: set a frame of what you are expecting at the space you are building (online or offline, conference or project).
. ally skills workshop: a three hours training designed by Frame Shift Consulting that tries to sensibilize about vocabulary and what means to be an ally in a project or organization
Sometimes companies treat diversity as a checklist, not being aware of the intersectionality.

Mentorship – best practices for FLOSS

And the last session that I attend was on mentorship. From that session we got a working group to explore mentorship in open source projects and how it affects sustainability.
Good managers are also mentors in helping you navigate and thrive in the project. We need mentors in FLOSS because
. it improves the engagement of the community we are building
. bring people into spaces they could thrive in the project.
Sides conversations and interesting thoughts
People can leave the tech industry and come back, you do not unlearn what you already knew.


Hagamos un juego.
Vos te quedas de este lado y disfrutamos el silencio entre los dos.
Hagamos un juego.
Vos te sentas del otro lado y yo  adivino en que rio andas,
en que planeta estas viviendo con tus ojos color cafe.
Hagamos un juego.
Vos te rendir sin pelear si quiera.
Y yo me dejo llevar entre tus sueños.


Nostalgia es como un monstruo dormido, que aparece cuando la luz te falta, en esos meses portlandeses antes de la primavera, cuando ya no puedes más de estar pasada bajo agua.  Es un placer profundo por sufrirla y de pronto puff, ya se fue a dormir.

Internet Freedom Festival 2017

This one have been the best festival so far. How could it not be? So much love crafted into every detail. And still, so many mistakes to learn from. For me, coordinating the code of conduct response team and on call for any issue, this have been a learning experience. Nothing can prepare you for hearing that your own community, the one fighting for social justice, the one you should be safe in, have people that are making somebody else feel uncomfortable. Rape culture is real and is pervasive through our own communities. It is sucking all our energy and souls. We should have been spending our time working on the tools that will help us keep other people safe. Instead, we are thinking of ways to support each other through the space, we are looking for ways to keep the perpetrators accountable.

After so many years working in tech and activism, my moment of discovery, was one afternoon during the women of color, gender non-conforming and trans people meeting. We crafted a letter of support to our sister Nighat Dad and it started like this “The movement to build internet freedom is not simply a movement for technology”. Yes! Exactly that! You “can’t be” in the space of freedom in Internet AND outside and not think about it as something else than technology. Tools are only the shelter to move through our societies, the structure to propose a new world in.

Thanks to everybody that made this possible, the staff that have been working on this for many many months, the volunteers that push through a lot during the week to make it work, the journalists that came to the venue and write articles on newspapers all over Spain, the fellows that put all their energy on the selection of workshops and talks, , the presenters that though about each of the sessions they gave, the participants that fly from all over the world, everybody that had patience and compassion for our mistakes as we are all humans and are trying to do our best, each of us who took care of somebody else through the week.

Now we are starting to think about the year ahead for our next gathering in 2018. We will look at the challenges as well as the things that we want to keep for next year. From the Festival team we want to work people involved in Internet Freedom through the year. Is there a new theme that you want to include? Maybe one about health and not burning out in such a hard space. Did the framework for diversity and inclusion worked for you? Is there anything you want to change about the code of conduct and/or how we are working on it? Is there anything about logistics that was a problem and you would like to see it changing next year?

We learn to solve problems together. Cross culture practices is a learning process and we are all working on it.


Era una red de mujeres. Mi amiga tenia una amiga que tenia una amiga que le paso el teléfono. Las instrucciones eran claras. Un examen ginecológico y firmar un papel que confirmaba que había llegado sangrando a la clínica. Mi decision fue relativamente fácil, no tenia dudas. Era lo que tenia que hacer y no había ninguna otra opción. La otra persona implicada consiguió como pudo la mitad del dinero que necesitaba para el procedimiento medico. El momento en que yo salía para el doctor, fue la ultima vez que lo vi. Caminando con la cabeza baja hacia el lado opuesto. Su decisión no era tan firme. Pero era mi cuerpo. No el de él.

Lyndon Johnson Told The Nation

I got a letter from L.B.J
It said, “This is your lucky day”
It’s time to put your khaki trousers on
Though it may seem very queer
We’ve got no jobs to give you here
So we are sending you to Vietnam

Lyndon Johnson told the nation
Have no fear of escalation
I am trying everyone to please
Though it isn’t really war
We’re sending fifty thousand more
To help save Vietnam from the Vietnamese

I jumped off the old troop ship
And sank in mud up to my hips
I cussed until the captain called me down
Never mind how hard it’s raining
Think of all the ground we’re gaining
Just don’t take one step outside of town

Lyndon Johnson told the nation
Have no fear of escalation
I am trying everyone to please
Though it isn’t really war
We’re sending fifty thousand more
To help save Vietnam from the Vietnamese

Every night the local gentry
Slip out past the sleeping sentry
They go to join the old V C
In their nightly little dramas
They put on their black pajamas
And come lobbing mortar shells at me

When Lyndon Johnson told the nation
Have no fear of escalation
I am trying everyone to please
Though it isn’t really war
We’re sending fifty thousand more
To help save Vietnam from the Vietnamese

We go round in helicopters
Like a bunch of big grasshoppers
Searching for the Viet Cong in vain
They left a note that they had gone
They had to get down to Saigon
Their government positions to maintain

And Lyndon Johnson told the nation
Have no fear of escalation
I am trying everyone to please
Though it isn’t really war
We’re sending fifty thousand more
To help save Vietnam from the Vietnamese

Well, here I sit in this rice paddy
Wondering about Big Daddy
And I know that Lyndon loves me so
Yet how sadly I remember
Way back yonder in November
When he said I’d never have to go

And Lyndon Johnson told the nation
Have no fear of escalation
I am trying everyone to please
Though it isn’t really war
We’re sending fifty thousand more
To help save Vietnam from the Vietnamese