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Open Source Global Relay Borathon: Fostering Open Source at VMware

Open source HackathonTo continue promoting an active internal open source community, VMware’s Open Source Program Office hosted the first annual VMware Open Source Global Relay Borathon.

A Borathon is VMware’s take on a hackathon. The event presents an opportunity for our community to get back to their creative roots
and work collaboratively to build flings, features, proof-of-concepts, hacks or new workflows. According to legend, the Borathon originates from when VMware moved from CVS to perforce, and the new repository had an island theme: Bora Bora. We wanted the name of our hackathon to be representative of our historical roots, thus the Borathon was born.

VMware Open Source Global Relay Borathon

August 15-16, the 24-hour VMware Open Source Global Relay Borathon was a bit of a shift from the normal Borathon. The goal was to contribute and give back to the open source community by working with open software unaffiliated with VMware. Nine teams of six members or less worked on nine ideas based on a new or existing open source projects. Teams not only worked on original projects, but were comprised of members from around the world; each team had to span across a minimum of nine time zones.

“From the interactions and the presentations that I saw, the teams let me glimpse into their preparation work, they worked like well-oiled machines. They were able to communicate across and within countries while overcoming language differences, cultural and gender differences in order to convey what they have done, what was left to do, what worked and what did not work.”

—Lauren Britton, VMware senior open source manager and event orchestrator

The following projects finished first and second respectively based on the five judges’ scorecards:

  1. GitHub Project Matcher
    • Led by Tom Scanlan
    • Team: Sabo Rusev, Konstantin Todorov, Chandrasekar Shanmugam, Hariharasudhan Reghuraman, and Aditya Agarwal
  2. Exim support for Cerbot, the official Let’s Encrypt client
    • Led by Zachary Shepherd
    • Team: Ajay Bhat, Nisha Kumar, and Alex Kagioglu

By the end of the 24 hours, Tom’s winning team had compiled 93 text files, 88 unique files and 1836 lines of code!

Teams were judged on design, documentation, applicability and teamwork at the end of the Borathon.

“Each team presented a cohesive front to showcase an immense amount of prep work, coding, and presentation skills while under a huge time constraint and dealing with time zone challenges.  It was also very refreshing to see how credit was given to each member of the teams for the work they had done further showing the importance of each piece and without all the pieces you don’t have a whole, no matter how small the piece may seem,” Lauren said.

Deemed a huge success, Lauren and her team will hold the Open Source Borathon Global Relay on a bi-annual basis moving forward.

Fostering Open Source Collaboration at VMware

The VMware Open Source Borathon became a microcosm of the open source community at large. The teams were largely made up of members who never met, but were passionate about creating and giving back to the community.

“I came up with the idea, and it was interesting enough to get the team formed up organically.  I didn’t pick anyone out, they were all volunteers that reached out just due to the project idea,” explained Tom Scanlan, team lead of the first-place finishers.

Tom’s team decided to donate their $1,000 charitable grant to the Wikimedia Foundation, operators of Wikipedia. “I proposed Wikipedia because it is a great way to lay some learning foundations anywhere internet connectivity exists. Access to education is very important. Wikipedia opens the door for billions of people to grow beyond basic education that may or may not otherwise be available,” Tom said.

The teams will continue to tweak and tinker with their projects internally before submitting for approvals in the coming months. You can check VMware’s GitHub page for our latest open source projects from around the company.

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