Episode 4

Bill Weinberg

Bill has seen the open source community evolve over the last twenty years, and he’s had a front-row seat. Currently, as a Senior Director and Analyst for Open Source Strategy at the Linux Foundation, he helps companies be more successful by implementing open source. He see’s open source as a methodology for “getting work done,” and helps organizations validate if it’s the right solution for them, and if yes, how to properly execute.

One good example of this is The Linux Foundation’s relationship with Microsoft, helping Microsoft become a more open source friendly company. At one point back in 2011 Microsoft became one of the leading contributors to Linux, as they added functionality to ensure it ran well inside Windows and their Azure hosting platform. On Github, Microsoft is now the biggest open source corporate contributor in the world.

Bill’s vast experience and knowledge of open source from its early days through the present is impressive and irreplaceable. Bill possesses a very strategic and long-term vision which he utilizes to the benefit of his clients. He can and does draw examples and proof points from 20+ years in the industry, and is the best man to build and explain open source strategy to a team of execs. – Nick Yeates, Open Source Business Strategist

Nick and Bill worked on a strategy project for the Armed Forces & Military to help them use open source methodologies to deliver software faster and more efficiently. As you can imagine, this is no easy task as the military contractor universe isn’t the most collaborative environment, and there isn’t always great incentive to share code. One strategy they brought to the military was “InnerSource,” which is taking the lessons learned from developing open source software and applying them to the way companies develop software internally. Paypal is a huge proponent of this methodology.

Enterprise companies are now building 50-80% of their products on open source. This is great, but Bill would like to see more companies contributing back to open source, not just being consumers of it. Not only does this mean contributing code back, but attending conferences/meetups, sponsoring events, improving documentation, or participating in the community in other ways.

As Bill puts it, “Open source isn’t just about code, it’s about people.”