Put people first: Navigating the bazaar of open source libraries

Short Form


npm has almost 25,000 packages. CPAN has over 114,000 modules. Drupal has over 20,000 add-ons, and there are 23,000+ plugins just at Wordpress.org. Where does one start? Put people first.


Choosing a software library – a module for a content management system, a gem for Ruby, a Python or Node.js package – is a daunting and sometimes improbable task. The community is prolific and choices are bewildering. Choosing well requires not only a technical analysis of features and code, but every bit as much an understanding of dynamic social relationships at work in the community. “Put people first” explores not only how to navigate this bazaar of coders and code, but also how to engage the authors, contribute in kind, and ultimately become part of the community.

Speaking experience

Most of my speaking experience has been at local meet ups, bar camps, and corporate training, but I am growing my skills very deliberately. I've given a lightning talk at DjangoCon 2011 and I'm currently preparing another lightning talk ("The Tyranny of the Database") for Pycon next week. I hope you'll visit the speaking page of my website (http://version2beta.com/speaking/) for a list and what recordings exist so far. This talk is new for me, but I will have opportunity to present locally before this conference.


  • Biography

    1. About me
    • I wrote my first professional program at 13. I was paid $30. A year later I learned my program had saved the company $3,000,000. I think I underbid that project.
    • I gave up programming for four years to live in communes and learn art.
    • I gave up not programming for the pleasure of writing industrial code that make real world objects, big heavy metal stuff, move up and down, back and forth.
    • In ’96 I discovered Linux, Perl, and web hosting. I stopped making metal move altogether a few years later. My last industrial project was a dual-headed robotic laser welder.
    • Today I spend my days in devops and Ruby and my nights in open source Python and JavaScript.
    • My kids call me Rad Dad Dude.