Episode 36 - October 5, 2020

Community is Everything: Open Source with Henry Zhu (Part 1)

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Open source software has received both criticism and applause from the tech community all across the world. Today, we’re talking about open source with Henry Zhu, a New York City-based maintainer of the community-funded compiler, Babel. Previously at Adobe, he’s also a host of two podcasts that discuss the lives of maintainers, Hope in Source and Maintainers Anonymous. In this episode, Henry shares some the similarities between his faith and open source, and explains some of the assumptions people have about open source software, why we need to take a step back and reevaluate these assumptions, and why he believes we should be thinking about how to minimize options and make things simpler. After all, open source is about more than just the code. Tune in to find out more!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Henry introduces himself, what he does, and his podcast, Hope in Source.
  • Henry shares a bit more about his podcast and his conversations with Nadia Eghbal.
  • The differences and similarities Henry sees between faith and open source.
  • From code style checker in open source to core maintainer at Babel the ideas are similar.
  • We need to step back and reevaluate some of the assumptions we have about open source.
  • Henry talks a bit about his co-host Nadia Eghbal’s new book, Working in Public.
  • How to address the issue of over-participation – Henry thinks multiple solutions are needed.
  • Maintaining both public and private personas – Henry says it’s better to have actual dialogue.
  • Communicating in open source, membership, and assumptions about open source projects.
  • Raising funding for open source projects using crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter.
  • Henry believes we should be thinking about how to remove options and make things simpler.
  • Open source is not just about code, it's about other things too.


Coming soon!