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A Conversation About Why VMware Uses Open Source and How to Keep Our Community Growing

At the recent Open Source Summit in Vancouver, I had the pleasure of recording an interview with technology journalist Swapnil Bhartiya, founder and editor of The Fourth Industrial Revolution (TFIR).

Our conversation is worth watching if you want to learn more about VMware’s overall approach to open source technologies and the role the Open Source Technology Center (OSTC), which I’m proud to lead, plays within the company.

We start out by situating the OSTC within the larger enterprise and talking about VMware’s overall approach to open source software. Swapnil’s title for the video is “Open Source is in every product VMware ships,” which pretty much tells you where VMware stands. But we go into some detail about exactly why open source is so valuable to the company and—just as important—how VMware seeks to support and sustain key open source projects.

Another important topic we cover is whether technology or people will be key to solving future challenges in the industry. As I explain to Swapnil, I think we need to pay attention to both.

As our community grows, we’re attracting people with an ever-wider range of skills and experience. That’s a good thing since diverse teams build better, more resilient projects. But we also need to find ways to ensure that the best practices we’ve developed over time are adhered to by the new contributors we are welcoming.

When barriers to contribution are low, that puts a higher burden on reviewers, and that in turn suggests where technology can help. Swapnil and I discuss how automating portions of the review process, for example, can help filter out common mistakes and help our senior developers scale.

I’ve already had quite a few viewers tell me that this part of the interview rings particularly true. And it’s echoed when our conversation touches on the messages shared by two presenters we both heard speak that week at VMworld and the Open Source Summit: Malala Yousafzai and Van Jones.

Both Malala and Van focused on contributions from people of all kinds and on the importance of supporting them so that they can contribute to the best of their ability. As someone who wants to see the open source community be the best it can be, that really rang true.

If you’re still in the earlier stages of your career, you might be interested in the parts of the conversation where I outline my own professional journey. At the end, I also get to geek out about a personal passion of mine: architectural visualization.

The video, once again, can be found here. To learn more about VMware and open source, check out our open source home page. And you can see what my excellent colleagues in the OSTC are up to by checking out their posts on this blog.

Many of us will be at the European Open Source Summit in Edinburgh, Scotland on October 22-24. I’m thrilled to note that we currently have 12 talks scheduled from VMware speakers. If you are planning to be there, come find us and say hello!


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