One of the things I love about open source is the fact that it is truly subversive at it's core. If you had come up to me 20 years ago and told me "Beth, I have this GREAT new business model! I'm going to write really excellent, world class code. Then, instead of keeping it to myself, I'm going to share it with my competitors! They're going to work on it in a collaborative fashion and we're all going to benefit from it!", I would have nodded politely and wondered if you had been asleep during Economics 101. It's not that we changed just a business model, we also changed a software development model, where people, anywhere can contribute code and ideas and reap the benefits.
One of the things that has really driven this radical concept is that I, as a developer, do not have co-workers so much as I have an intentional community of people passionate about embedded Linux. Intentional communities can be amazing places. We try to think about how our actions effect others in the community. We look to improve upon the community through our code and our ideas. Every line of code we write is a statement that changes the world. It says "I support this new way of doing things so much that I want others who share my passion to benefit from my work."
And it's not just the code we care about. It is developing a community that is diverse, both in skillset and experience, both technical and personal. This diversity makes our community stronger and brings more voices to the table with the end result being a stronger project.
One of the things I've been working on to help improve the number of people in our wonderful bazaar of ideas is tackling the problem of how to increase the participation of women and other underrepresented minorities in open source in order for us to make our communities truly diverse places. One way the Yocto Project has been doing this is by participation in the Gnome Foundations, Outreach Program for Women. We are pleased to introduce our first OPW intern, Anne Mulhern. Mulhern received her doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the spring of 2010. As a graduate student at the UW, she divided her time between the subject of automated theorem proving and work on the CBI (Cooperative Bug Isolation) project. Since graduating, Mulhern has been a professor, teaching at various colleges and universities located to the east of Wisconsin. She is currently living in north-eastern Massachusetts.
Mulhern will be working on the meta-security layer over the next three months, helping to improve the OE-Core build systems security tooling. She will be blogging about her experiences at her blog. Please join me in welcoming Mulhern to the project!