I was recently awarded a Google Open Source Peer Bonus (OSPB), by Cameron Shorter, which was such a lovely surprise! Thank you so much, Cameron, for nominating me.

I hadn’t heard of the program until I was awarded it, but it allows Google employees to recognise external (eg non-Google) contributors to open source. The really great thing is that it recgonises all types of contributors, including (copied straight from their blurb):

  • Technical writers
  • User experience and graphic designers
  • Community managers and marketers
  • Mentors and educators
  • Front and back-end developers
  • Ops and security experts

It’s wonderful to see the full plethora of contributors recognised- and it certainly gave me a bit of a boost and the momentum to carry on doing “stuff” in these *ahem* challenging times. There is a small monetary contribution- which in my case will pay for a couple of days away in the UK Lake District (COVID restrictions notwithstanding).

Through this award, I also discovered the Google Open Source blog, and through that, their Open Source Live event series. The first of these was in early September, and covered “The New Open Source: Leadership, contributions and sustainability”. I found the talks in the main very informative- I’ve been thinking a lot about sustainability in open source since I was researching a talk for DevRelCon last year and reading the statistics about developer and project burn-out. The statistics are unlikely to get any better this year, since there’s such a huge burden of additional stress in everyone’s lives. One particular talk about “Being the leader you want in OSS” was also thought-provoking, as it told the story of a new contributor becoming involved in a project, driving change by virtue of getting involved and asking the right questions, and eventually becoming a core part of the project team.

Note: I’m not meaning to come across as a completely un-critical google fan-girl here. Certain elements of the “empire” are problematic indeed, but this is one area that I think they’ve done well with. There’s a cycle here. Initiatives like the OSPB Program help to keep people going, and to stay enthusiastic, at a very difficult time. People are what make open source projects work, keep them sustainable, and drive positive change. Goodness me, we need as much of that as we can get right now!

Avoiding burn-out