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Towards an Open Development Culture

Lars Kurth, Contributor Community

This talk is about
sharing what we
have learned in the
last 8 months!
A short history

Initial code
contribution
250 million phones shipped
250 different phone models
2009
100 million
phones shipped 2008 Nokia acquires
Symbian Ltd
Symbian Ltd was 2006
founded

1998

Copyright © 2009 Symbian Foundation. Public
We are …

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Members 2009

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Preparation work:
Seeding the creation of the Foundation
Planning the Foundation

Expert teams
Staffed by Nokia and
Symbian Ltd to look at
specific problems Oversight by founding
members

More than 100 people
were involved

Copyright © 2009 Symbian Foundation. 6
Looking to solve problems such as ...

What Infrastructure
is needed? How is the platform
Bug tracker, Mailing Lists, governed?
SCM system, etc. Feature & Roadmap,
How are roadmaps Architecture, UI and
created? Release councils

AND MANY MORE …
How do different parts ~
of the community work
together? What are the different
Collaboration Process open source roles?
Package Owners,
How will the code base beCommitters, etc.
structured?
System model and
technology domains
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BUT:
of course there were
some issues !

Gaps, unintended
consequences, some
things did not fit Helped give
Symbian a
GOOD START

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Preparing the Code
3rd party IP and the initial contribution

After 10 years the codebase contained
a big portion of 3rd party IP
Which could not be open sourced

40 Million Lines of C++

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The IP Challenge

  40 million lines of code had to be checked for IP
violations
  Many false positives
  Many benign cases (e.g. code copied from a book)

  It took 6 months to identify all serious IP issues
  16% of components had an instance of an IP issue
  94 cases altogether

  Affected code needed to be removed initially
  Ultimately replace by open source friendly code
Handling IP Holes

Removing code left “dirty
holes” – aka components
that did not build.

Refactor code such that Contribution,
components build – “clean R&D License or
holes” non-core items
(leave the
hole)
Fill the holes …
(on average 10 per
month)

Copyright © 2009 Symbian Foundation. 11
Challenge:
negotiating IP
issues

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The cultural challenge:
changing an eco-system
Eco-system: what to do?
A shock for the eco-
system
Raising questions such as …
•  Will Symbian still be around
in a year?
This takes time •  What is the opportunity?
•  What is the risk?
Many eco-system companies
•  How does the game change?
are concluding this process
•  How do I adapt?
Early birds are thriving
•  Do I need to change my
business model?

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Community Leadership: in its Infancy

How do I find 130 open
source leaders who know
their technology?
I Can’t! Experts need to
grow into open leaders
over time!

Personal “change” challenges
•  Why would anybody want to contribute?
•  What do I need to do to be successful?
•  What support can I count on
•  What am I allowed / not allowed to do?
Solution: education, Solution: foundation
supporting, mentor and staff leading and act as
rewarding desired behavior! role models

Copyright © 2009 Symbian Foundation. 15
Starting the Contributor Community

All contributions satisfy a
SELFISH NEED!

Show me the NEED
Show me the MONEY

We had to learn what
motivates contributions Transfer the knowledge
to the community

Transfer the knowledge
to our open source
leaders

Copyright © 2009 Symbian Foundation. 16
Contributions: Thank You !!!

Initial contributions: Other contributions so far …

Major contributions
in the making
•  3 from Japan
•  5 from Nokia
•  7 otherwise
•  More discussed at SEE
Contributions being
worked on …

Smaller contributions just happen!
Hard to track

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Lessons learnt!

So far …
How are OSS projects normally created?

Idea
Proprietary
Mi
Incubator

Project
•  Process takes between 2-24 months
•  Project adds 2-3 committers
•  Process requires a large amount of support
•  Apache average: 14 months

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How can you do this as
FAST as possible when
you have a HUGE initial
contribution?

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Lesson: A STRONG FOUNDATION

A strong team of An open source
community managers and organization with some
technology managers technical capability

Can find and work with Can initiate projects
vendors who may want to
contribute

And prove to community And show opportunities
that the model works

Because of results the
community takes initiative
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Lesson: Common Goods

Many open source
projects struggle with
common goods
Testing for compatibility

Building and releasing the
platform and development
kits.
A variant of the Tragedy
of the Commons

Solution: the open source
Foundation delivers critical
common goods

Copyright © 2009 Symbian Foundation. 22
Two stages to true Open Source

SFL Package EPL Package

Members Companies Everybody
Using and contributing Using and contributing

A beta period towards going open source :
learn, fix & de-risk
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Moving to the EPL

So far: learning how
to EPL, such that our
community can move
faster

Build
16 out of 134

Kernel:
Kernel,
beagleboard,
Security qemu
IDE,
hostenv,
etc.

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Lesson: Two stage process

The Good:
•  Time to staff the foundation
•  Time for community leaders to learn
•  Time to resolve challenges
•  Time to build momentum

The Bad:
•  Negative publicity
•  Negative sentiment from parts of
the OSS community

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Lesson: LEAVE CHALLENGES

When the foundation
started, significant parts
of how it was to operate
were still to define Actually this was
a blessing!
Council members had some
CHALLENGES to resolve

+ =
Problems (which Big stake in builds sense of
people care about) solving these OWNERSHIP

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Lesson: COMMUNITY REPRESENTATION

Councils:
•  F&R
•  Architecture
•  UI
•  Release

COUNCILS are
becoming
mechanisms
for
COMMUNITY
REPRESENTATION

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Lesson: LET EVERYBODY INFLUENCE

Working groups (e.g. UI
migration working group)
SIGs: Special Interest
Groups

BoFs and other
interactive parts of our
annual conference! Sense of
OWNERSHIP
Symbian Idea Site
http://ideas.symbian.org/:
400 ideas added in a week
UI Brainstorm

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Lesson: OPENESS

Open Management
Our community like the fact
that roadmaps, backlogs,
minutes, etc. are publicly
Be as open as you
available!
can
BUT
do not force your
Many are experimenting with community to be!
IDEAS – being open can lead
to embarrassment
Culture Change &
Worry to share information Cultural Collision
that can be used to deduce
trade secrets

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Lesson: INCENTIVE STRUCTURE

Vendor Community
Neutrality
•  Can I influence the direction of the community?
•  Influence = protect investment

Closed Open
Development

•  Can I see roadmaps, influence the direction
of APIs and the platform?
•  Influence = make the platform work for me

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We have a very good
chance of succeeding

Still lots to do and learn!

So far being part of this
journey has been FUN, but
also lots of HARD WORK!

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S^1 & S^2 devices in 2009

SH‐04A

X6 5230 N97 Mini

F-01A F-03A F-08A

N97 SH‐06A
Nerv
 SH‐05A
 SH‐06A


5800 5800 5530
F-04A F-09A F-02A Express Navi Express SH‐07A
 SH‐02A
 SH‐01A
 SH‐03A
 Satio
i8910 Music Music
Some data to close...

In 2012 - 2014 there will
be 372 - 525 million smart
phones.

>60% of these will be based Open Source in Mobile is
on open source operating here to stay !!!
systems

Symbian is projected to be
the most used OS in 2012 &
2014

•  Juniper Research
•  Gartner 33
Questions
larsk@symbian.org
Twitter: lars_kurth

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