The world is flat at Apache ApacheCon Asia update

ApacheCon Day 3 and 4 were just as action packed as the first two. Day 3 began with a session by Sanjiva Weerawarana, who is leading the open source effort in Sri Lanka. His session was titled “The world is flat at Apache.” He shared his insights into the working of Apache and his personal experiences while contributing to Apache. He talked about how there are no bosses in the Apache structure and all contributors are at par when it comes to decision making.

The day had sessions on Axis2, Geronimo, BSF4Rexx, Velocity and ‘Single Sign On’ amongst others. The day ended with a panel discussion about “Apache And Asia – Bridging The Gap”.

Ken Coar, Danese Cooper, Sanjiva Weerawarana, Kishore Kumar and I were on the panel. The discussion began with each getting 5 min to share their thoughts on the state of Apache in Asia. Danese shared her experiences from countries like Brazil and how learnings from those countries could be applied in Asia. Ken talked about what could be the barriers that are stopping Asians from being more active and the insular nature of open source. Kishore took a contrary approach, he said that using open source was also a contribution in a sense. Sanjiva shared his experience in Sri Lanka and how getting hold of youngsters just out of college was the key to open source success in Sri Lanka.

The discussion soon turned to why developers in India aren’t contributing to open source. I feel that Indian developers are aware and to a certain extent even feel guilty about not giving back to the community but just pulling from it. Open Source will happen as Indian IT matures and Indians start feeling more capable to stand up with the best. Currently most developers in India have less than 5 yrs experience and they just don’t feel confident enough to contribute or even present counter arguments on mailing lists. The crazy work hours in most Indian companies also make it far more difficult to contribute than someone in the developed world.

The discussion soon moved away from just Apache to a general Open Source discussion. Some questions from the audience led the discussion into the subject that always comes up in open source discussions,

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