Decentralized Collaboration with Open Source Tools: Technical and Cultural Implementation

A collection of simple open source communication tools can coordinate thousands of decentralized contributions.

This talk is a live version of a recurring Fedora Classroom session taught both online and in-person at classrooms as part of the first-day curriculum for POSSE (Professors' Open Source Summer Experience, a week-long cultural immersion workshop for university faculty looking to get their students involved in open source communities). The Unix design philosophy of modularity - simple parts that each do one thing well, connected by clean interfaces - applies to communication workflows as well as code ones. We'll give a live demonstration of how a collection of simple open source communication tools are used by the Fedora Project to coordinate thousands of technical and nontechnical contributions on a technically complex, rapidly moving, large-scale Linux distribution - all in a decentralized manner. Although each tool by itself is simple to learn and use, the magic comes in the interactions between these tools and the communication culture it makes possible in the communities that fluently use it. We'll go through both technology usage and cultural norms, with publicly available slides and resources for full tutorials and setup instructions for each tool available to all attendees by the start of the presentaion. We'll also explain how this ecosystem of tools can be deployed in your internal infrastructure and applied to communications within a school or industry team. Tools covered: * IRC: synchronous communication * supybot / IRC bots: synchronous context-bridging * etherpad: synchronous text editing * mediawiki: asynchronous text editing, documentation * ticket trackers: asynchronous task-tracking * blog planets: asynchronous context-providance * Classrooms: structures for synchronous community teaching

Speaker: Robyn Bergeron