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 100 million phones shipped Symbian Ltd was founded 1998 2006 2009 Nokia acquires Symbian Ltd

2008

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.

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Looking to solve problems such as ...
What Infrastructure is needed? Bug tracker, Mailing Lists, SCM system, etc. How are roadmaps created? How do different parts ~ of the community work together? Collaboration Process How is the platform governed? Feature & Roadmap, Architecture, UI and Release councils

AND MANY MORE …

What are the different open source roles? Package Owners, Committers, etc. How will the code base be 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 components build – “clean holes” Fill the holes … (on average 10 per month) Contribution, R&D License or non-core items (leave the hole)

Copyright © 2009 Symbian Foundation.

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Challenge:

negotiating IP issues

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The cultural challenge:
changing an eco-system

Eco-system: what to do?
A shock for the ecosystem Raising questions such as … •  Will Symbian still be around in a year? This takes time •  What is the opportunity? •  What is Many eco-system companies the risk? •  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.

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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 community managers and technology managers Can find and work with vendors who may want to contribute And prove to community that the model works An open source organization with some technical capability

Can initiate projects

And show opportunities

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.

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Two stages to true Open Source

SFL Package
Members Companies Using and contributing

EPL Package
Everybody 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

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IDE, hostenv, etc.

Security

Kernel, beagleboard, qemu

Kernel:

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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 Council members had some CHALLENGES to resolve

Actually this was a blessing!

Problems (which people care about)

+

Big stake in solving these

=

builds sense of 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! Symbian Idea Site http://ideas.symbian.org/: 400 ideas added in a week UI Brainstorm
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Sense of OWNERSHIP

Lesson: OPENESS
Open Management Our community like the fact that roadmaps, backlogs, minutes, etc. are publicly available!

Many are experimenting with IDEAS – being open can lead to embarrassment Worry to share information that can be used to deduce trade secrets
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Be as open as you can BUT do not force your community to be!

Culture Change & Cultural Collision

Lesson: INCENTIVE STRUCTURE
Vendor Community

Neutrality

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

Closed

Development

Open

•  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

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5800 Express Music

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Satio

Some data to close...
In 2012 - 2014 there will be 372 - 525 million smart phones. >60% of these will be based on open source operating systems Symbian is projected to be the most used OS in 2012 & 2014 •  Juniper Research •  Gartner Open Source in Mobile is here to stay !!!

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Questions
larsk@symbian.org Twitter: lars_kurth

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