A joke virus warning from 30+ years ago. X Window was (and still is) revolutionary.
Wikipedia turned 20 today. What started as a grand experiment to create a better encyclopedia has turned into essential fabric that now holds together the discourse of modern society.
Here is a favorite shot of Katherine Maher who is the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation. She has been leading the organization since taking the reigns in 2016.
I hope to add more Wikipedians to the project as there are many more unsung heroes that deserve recognition in that community.
I’m pleased to report that we added 18 new Faces to the project in 2019!
Here they are listed in the order that they were photographed:
- Les Earnest
- Judy Estrin
- Parisa Tabriz
- Nithya Ruff
- Gabriela de Queiroz
- Bill Joy
- Allison Randal
- Emily Xie
- Hong Phuc Dang
- Rupa Dachere
- Simon Phipps
- Timirah James
- Ashley McNamara
- Holden Karau
- Alolita Sharma
- James Gosling
- Margo Seltzer
- Lorinda Cherry
Once again I want to thank all of the participants for being so generous with their time and for their willingness to be part of this project. It’s a privilege to tell your stories.
See you in 2020!
Someone once described O’Reilly’s OSCON conference to me as a sort of “homecoming”. I didn’t really understand what they meant until the team at O’Reilly Media invited us to exhibit the Faces of Open Source at this year’s conference.
For the past twenty years, the open source community comes together at OSCON for a week of open source talks, seminars, and networking. For many attendees, OSCON is a chance to put faces to names that they might only know from interactions online — which meant our exhibit fit right in with the ethos of the conference.
The exhibit provided a unique way for attendees to see faces from the broader open source community and to learn about their contributions to open source projects and history.
As the number of Faces in the project has grown, we’ve had to put a lot of thought into how best to exhibit 100+ portraits. For OSCON, we opted to do a digital exhibit using a series of large monitors in portrait orientation. The OSCON team created a wonderful surround for the monitors which rotated through a sequenced loop of the portraits.
Amazing contributors captured by @PeterAdamsPhoto through The Faces of Open Source Project. Exhibit of photos on display at #OSCON. Oh to be captured with so many of #opensource greats. @facesopensource ❤️ pic.twitter.com/91rTQUh62q
— zahedab (@zahedab) July 15, 2019
Another cool feature of the exhibit were the unique QR codes that we added to each photograph. Viewers could scan any Face’s QR code with their mobile phone to pull up detailed caption info about the person from our website.
I want to thank the team at O’Reilly for making this happen. It personally meant a lot to me to see the OSCON community interact with the exhibit. And yes, it really did feel like coming home.
One of the biggest project hurdles we face is the logistics of scheduling photo shoots with participants.
The truth be told, people involved in open source are busy and in high demand! When you combine that fact with my schedule, it’s not uncommon for it to sometimes take months (or even years) to schedule portrait sittings.
Luckily, a lot of participants are based in, or travel to, Silicon Valley and New York City where I can often find a time to bring them into the studio. Other times, we have to pack the car (or get on a plane) and bring the studio to them.
That’s exactly what we did in October when Todd Lewis from All Things Open reached out to see if we wanted to photograph at their very cool conference.
I love doing location shoots but they are are not inexpensive. Aside from the obvious travel costs, we have to rent the space, staff and equipment needed to setup and tear down a mini photo studio.
Thankfully, the wonderful folks at Red Hat were keen to sponsor the shoot and bring us out to Raleigh for the conference. Over the course of three days we turned a blessedly empty hotel conference room into a photo studio where we were able to photograph ten amazing speakers plus one of the seminal figures in the history of open source!
Also, while we were in town, Red Hat sponsored a really cool “mini exhibit” of the project where we displayed twenty-five of the photographs on a large, free standing, high resolution, monitor placed in the conference’s exhibit hall. Every time one of the 4,000+ conference attendees passed by the monitor, they learned about a new Face of open source as they made their way to and from sessions and meals.
— Faces of Open Source (@facesopensource) October 23, 2018
We even had a celebrity sighting!
— Jason Baker ⛄ (@jehb) October 23, 2018
The digital display was a very impactful way to exhibit the photographs. It was also much less expensive than crating and shipping physical prints across the country. I’m excited to use more of these free standing monitors in future conference exhibits.
To cap things off, we also did a limited print run of the first Faces of Open Source “magazine” which I signed and gave away to 400 attendees. I love the magazine format and hope to use it to publish new Faces between the larger book releases.
— Faces of Open Source (@facesopensource) October 22, 2018
I want to give a sincere thank you to everyone involved in making this trip such a success! The team at All Things Open was absolutely wonderful to work with throughout the conference. They really went out of their way to make us feel welcome and fully supported. Also, once again thank you to Red Hat for sponsoring this photo shoot and exhibit. We couldn’t have done it without your support!
Can you imagine if twenty years ago a group of mavericks had not developed a plan to accelerate the adoption of free and open software? We’d probably still be logging into AOL or browsing a warped version of the Web with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Yikes.
Today, February 3rd, marks the 20th anniversary of the name “open source”.
Choosing a name
Faces of Open Source participant Christine Peterson, who coined the name, recently posted her first-hand account of how the open source label came to be. If you like tech history, Christine’s piece is a must-read.
How old is open source really?
In reality, open source is a lot more than 20 years old.
For example, Linus Torvalds created Linux in 1991 – the very same year that the BSD operating system was first freely distributed. Also, the X Window System and Richard Stallman’s GNU project both began in the 1980’s.
The roots of open source might even be traced back to the 1970’s when the Unix team at Bell Labs would “snail mail” source code to anyone who asked for it.
Suffice it to say, open source is standing on the shoulders of giants who were creating and sharing open source software long before 1998. They were just calling it by another name: “free software”.
However, by the 1990’s, that name was starting to become problematic.
For one, the word “free” was confusing. Richard Stallman, who started the free software movement, would often clarify that free was short for “free speech” and not “free beer”. This explanation helped, but not enough for businesses to get over their fear of adopting “free” software.
And so, a group of free software advocates found themselves in a conference room twenty years ago searching for a new label to explain free software.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, free and open source software permeates our modern way of life, playing a foundational role every time billions of people send email, visit a website or pick up their smartphones.
Whose shoulders are those?
If you ask me, the broader open source revolution might be the single biggest tech catalyst of the 21st century! And yet, outside of the technology industry, those responsible for open source remain largely unknown.
I find this inconceivable and it’s what drives me to document the Faces of Open Source. If you feel the same way, this 20th anniversary of the open source name is a great opportunity to help spread the word.
2017 was an action-packed year for Faces of Open Source.
My traveling photo studio made its way to New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Santa Cruz, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles.
I photographed 26 new faces which brings the total number of participants to 72!
New Faces added in 2017
I’m so excited for you to see the new Faces and learn about their contributions to open source. Here’s the full list in the order they were photographed:
Mary Ann Horton
Jon “maddog” Hall
I’m looking forward to a little break from travel and then it’s on to 2018 and a whole new set of Faces. Stay tuned!
Ever wonder where open source projects get their names?
If so, you are going love Kerberos – the authentication protocol developed at MIT in the 1980’s and still in use today.
The project’s name comes from Greek mythology and refers to the three-headed beast that guards the entrance to the underworld.
Faces participant Dan Geer explains all in this gem from 1991.
I can’t resist posting this 1982 video from the AT&T archives which features many Faces participants from Bell Labs talking about Unix! Watch it all the way to the end as there’s a lot to love here.