Summer of Love initiative

Description on our initiative to open source our in-house developed systems

"I understand that we're smarter than me. That's one reason I like the idea of sharing." --Toba Beta, Master of Stupidity

What is this then?

Summer of Love is a sub-program (or a project? Initiative?) to publish our internal systems as open source. Each system takes some work like stripping out stuff specific to just us, documenting a bit, adding license etc.

Why do such a thing?

It would be embarrassing to make noise about open source software, had we not published anything much of value. These systems are pretty damn neat, a lot of thought has been put to them. It would feel good to see others make use of them.

What does it entail?

Well, first we agreed that we can publish the systems (sure!) and ensuring the budget for the summer, circa 10000 euros (no problem). Then we set into finding a suitable person to do the actual work. We struck luck there, a good match was identified immediately and he agreed to take up this gig.

Introducing the initiative

Here’s the mail I sent to Futurice people (all of them) on Apr 15 2014. It sums the initiative up and might be interesting for other reasons as well.

So the other day we were at Kaunis Kampela discussing open source. I had been reading on Google’s Summer of Code and how we missed this year’s application period… and how that doesn’t really matter, since we haven’t yet open sourced much, as a company, so our application would likely have been rejected. Brooding and shaking of heads ensued.

Then Olli Jarva pointed out that we have a number of neat support systems developed by IT that could be published - perhaps we should assign someone to do just that? Perhaps a summer employee?

O_o

Why yes… yes we should! If only we could find a damn nice sourcerer for the job…

[a surprisingly short period of time passes]

Hi!

I’m Ville Tainio and I will be joining Futurice this summer. I’m currently studying Computer Science at Aalto University and mainly focusing on web software. I’m also currently the Master of Corporate Relationships at the Computer Science guild. My passion is to create cool things and help other people with technology. I want to be really proud of my work and I believe that our summer project is something that makes not just me, but everyone really proud of working for Futurice.

I’ve been programming since I was 14 years old and I love learning new stuff about it every day. During my free time, besides programming, I play synth/french horn in a band called Blind Architect (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1Gux8GWkHI check it out!). I also enjoy running and an occasional round of disc golf.

I can’t wait to get started and to meet all of you!

:D Success!

Ville will join us in June. He will provide more information about the systems and the progress of the work. We are talking about systems like FUM, IRMA, Password Safe etc…

The work will include getting to know the systems, doing some pre-publishing tidying up, writing relevant documentation and pushing to public Github repositories, managing issues and hopefully even handling some pull requests from other contributors. And a whole lot of communication, at least in the shape of blog posts.

So uhh, why?

Because it’s the right thing to do. Potential short-term corporate-y gain is probably some good press, which might help out our recruitment. Possibly even some customer brand recognition.

Yes, that’s pretty vague, but it’s enticingly warm and fluffy. Not entirely unlike fresh cotton candy.

We could also put some effort in getting some of these systems adopted by our customers (or potential customers), since they are pretty damn sweet, and we’re in a good position to sell consultancy on the side.

For our OSS program (see www.spiceprogram.org for a sneak peek) this is a good opportunity to show that we can walk the walk.

PS. Kaunis Kampela is a local pub.

Internal reception

The internal reception was delightfully positive. I received about a dozen mail replies (the introduction mail had ~200 recipients) that all applauded the initiative. More people gave thumbs up on Flowdock or live. Warm and fluffy indeed!

External reception

So far there’s been some interest towards the released systems and solutions, but nothing that exciting yet. That’s okay and precisely what we expected. We plan to look into how to promote the systems (and the initiative) next. That’s a company advantage; an actual marketing organization and a lot of contacts.

Next steps

Ville continues the work and he will help with other Spice Program activities as well. We will talk internally to find out if our people would be interested in promoting some of the systems to our customers. Things of value have already been achieved, so it is all pretty laid back now.