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Author: Eric Anderson

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The origin story behind the best open source projects and communities.
15 Episodes
Eric Anderson (@ericmander) and Jeremiah Lowin (@jlowin) discuss Prefect, a workflow management system and data orchestration tool under development as an open-source project. Jeremiah initially created Prefect to solve a technical challenge specific to his own work, but soon realized that it was appealing to a very wide range of different clients. Listen to today’s episode to learn why Jeremiah believes most attempts to build a unified framework for solving data orchestration fail. In this episode we discuss: Solving the “negative engineering problem” Learning from the complaints of data engineers at Apache Airflow The difficulty of having a product that serves two masters How COVID changed the direction of Prefect Links: Prefect Apache Airflow Why Not Airflow? People mentioned: Jim O'Shaughnessy (@jposhaughnessy) Patrick O’Shaughnessy (@patrick_oshag)
Eric Anderson (@ericmander) catches up with Torin Sandall (@sometorin), co-creator of Open Policy Agent (OPA), the open-source, general-purpose policy engine. By focusing on demonstrating OPA’s value through case studies, targeted interviews, and word-of-mouth, Torin and the folks at Styra were able to grow OPA into the emerging standard for unified policy enforcement across the cloud-native stack. In this episode we discuss: When Netflix stumbled across OPA and delivered its “Cinderella moment” Why OPA was designed to be developer-centric The value of demonstrating OPA’s use cases to the industry How one user created an RPG engine with OPA Links: Open Policy Agent Styra OpenStack LinkerD Hacker News Kubernetes KubeCon OPA Gatekeeper conftest Corrupting the Open Policy Agent to Run My Games Envoy Styra Academy People mentioned: Tim Hinrichs (@tlhinrchs) William Morgan (@wm) Kevin Hoffman (@kevinhoffman) Other episodes: LinkerD on Contributor Envoy on Contributor
Eric Anderson (@ericmander) and Maxim Fateev (@mfateev) trace the development of Temporal, an open-source workflow orchestration engine. At Uber, Maxim co-created the project’s predecessor, Cadence, but Temporal’s roots stretch farther back to include lessons learned at Amazon and Microsoft. In this episode, learn how 18 years of experience in asynchronous messaging and workflows culminated in the foundation of Temporal. In this episode we discuss: Why Maxim quit Uber to start his own company Differences between Temporal and Cadence How Uber is filling the position that Google once had incubating open-source projects Maxim’s advice for aspiring open-source founders Related Links: Temporal Cadence Kafka HashiCorp BanzaiCloud Hacker News Andreesen Horowitz TChannel Hadoop People mentioned: Samar Abbas (@samarabbas77)
Eric Anderson (@ericmander) and Manish Jain (@manishrjain) discuss the impact of Dgraph, an open-source database with a graph backend that Manish describes as “a search engine acting as a database.” Manish took a gamble when he chose GraphQL as his project’s query language shortly after its release by Facebook in 2015. Now, GraphQL has grown immensely in popularity and the bet has paid off, as Dgraph leads the cutting edge of databases in this new space. Make sure to check out the Dgraph team’s conference, “GraphQL In Space,” which will be held virtually on September 10th at In this episode we discuss: How Manish was ahead of the curve at Google The chance circumstances in the Australian job market that led to Dgraph Building trust between open-source developers and their community Why the Dgraph team decided to hold their upcoming conference “In Space” The future of databases and GraphQL Related Links: Dgraph GraphQL In Space GraphQL Badger MongoDB BigTable Cassandra Spanner Elasticsearch People mentioned: Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly)
Eric Anderson (@ericmander) talks to Martin Traverso (@mtraverso), Dain Sundstrom (@daindumb) and David Phillips (@electrum32) about their collaboration on Presto, an open-source distributed SQL query engine for big data. The three engineers worked together at three different companies before deciding to solve an efficiency problem for data analytics at Facebook in 2012. Listen to today’s episode to learn about the careful planning and technical philosophy behind the development and design of Presto. In this episode we discuss: Starting an open-source project at Facebook in the early 2010s The importance of making Presto “dirt simple to install” What is “documentation driven development” Bootstrapping the growth of an open-source community How a single query caused a brownout across Facebook infrastructure Related Links: Presto Starburst Ning Netezza ProofPoint Hadoop Postgres Hive OpenCompute @Scale Arm Treasure Data Qubole People mentioned: Jay Parikh (@jayparikh)
Nathan Killoran (@co9olguy) guides Eric Anderson (@ericmander) through the cutting-edge world of quantum machine learning at Xanadu, a quantum computing company that is innovating with its use of photonics. Nathan is Xanadu’s Head of Software, Algorithms, & Quantum Machine Learning, and has detailed insight on their main open-source software projects, StrawberryFields and PennyLane. On today’s episode, Nathan explains how the barrier to contributing may be lower than you think, even if you don’t have a PhD in quantum physics. In this episode we discuss: Designing software for Xanadu’s unique approach to quantum computing Machine learning, differentiable programming and more in the quantum domain How even high school students can contribute to an open-source quantum computing project Is there a road map for quantum machine learning? Nathan’s “blue sky” interview questions Links: Xanadu StrawberryFields PennyLane ProjectQ TensorFlow Quantum PyTorch Qiskit Pyquil Cirq Alpine Quantum Technologies Quantum Open Source Foundation Unitary Fund People mentioned: Christian Weedbrook, CEO of Xanadu (@_cweedbrook)
Eric Anderson (@ericmander) talks to Alexey Milovidov (@alexey-milovidov) and Ivan Blinkov (@blinkov) about their work on Clickhouse, an open source analytical database from the team at Yandex. Originally designed to support Yandex.Metrica, word of this powerful tool spread rapidly inside the company, and the idea was hatched to make Clickhouse into a truly open source project. Tune in to learn about how Alexey petitioned management to accept what initially seemed like a “crazy” idea - and how the risk paid off. In this episode we discuss: Differences between Clickhouse and similar products Why some open source projects are more successful than others The history of open source at Yandex What makes a good open source developer Building an international community Links: Clickhouse Yandex.Metrica Altinity Postgres Oracle Infobright InfinityDB MongoDB Vertica Dremel: Interactive Analysis of Web-Scale Datasets (2010) CatBoost BEM Presto Druid Greenplum Apache Spark
Eric Anderson (@ericmander) chats with William Morgan (@wm), CEO of Buoyant and a creator of the open source service mesh, LinkerD. As a former infrastructure engineer at Twitter, William leveraged his experience there to help develop what would become effectively the first service mesh. Listen to today’s episode to find out how the team at Buoyant originally coined the term, and are continuing to define the concept today. In this episode we discuss: Pioneering the very first service mesh Why Buoyant rejected the open core model How the industry is shifting away from the “nights and weekends” community Rewriting LinkerD from scratch Links: LinkerD Buoyant Dive Kubernetes Docker Finagle HAProxy NGINX CNCF Prometheus Cisco Webex Istio
Chef with Adam Jacob

Chef with Adam Jacob


Full show notes and transcript. Eric Anderson (@ericmander) welcomes Chef co-founder Adam Jacob (@adamhjk) to talk about the popular open source service. He and co-founder Nathan Haneysmith originally started the company as a way to sell automation services to startups, but wanted to expand their abilities to serve more clients. From naming the company to governance and engaging with contributors, Adam dives into why it was important to him to go the open source route and how the business model works. In this episode we discuss: How Chef got started The decision to be open source What the business model looks like Contributors and community members Where Chef is today and where it’s headed Links Chef Puppet The Apache Software Foundation Docker Perl
Istio with Sven Mawson

Istio with Sven Mawson


Full show notes and transcript. Eric Anderson (@ericmander) and Sven Mawson (@smawson) dive into the past, present and future of Istio, an open source service mesh born of collaboration between IBM and Google. Sven is a Senior Staff Engineer at Google and co-founder of the Istio project. In today’s episode, he shares the story of how two titans came together for a tool that anyone can use and contribute to. In this episode we discuss: How Google asked IBM to drop their Amalgam8 project The involvement of Lyft, Envoy and Matt Klein (@mattklein123) Making moves at QCon A counter-intuitive marketing strategy What work still needs to be done Links Istio Google Cloud Endpoints Kubernetes Envoy QCon NGinX
Full show notes and transcript. Eric Anderson (@ericmander) and Matt Klein (@mattklein123) discuss the beginnings of Envoy Proxy, an open source proxy now governed by the CNCF. Matt is a software engineer at Lyft and creator of the Envoy. On today’s episode, Matt gives the inside scoop on the benefits and challenges of cultivating a self-sustaining open source community.   In this episode we discuss: How Matt’s experience at Twitter informed development of Envoy Working with Google The role of marketing in Envoy’s success Why building an open source community is like “total controlled anarchy” Finding the right contributors and maintainers Links: Envoy Proxy Finagle Hystrix NginX HA Proxy Istio CNCF
Full show notes and transcript. Eric Anderson (@ericmander) hosts Haoyuan Li (@haoyuan), also known as H.Y., creator of Spark Streaming as well as the open source data orchestration system, Alluxio. H.Y. founded Alluxio, Inc. to further develop the research project that he first created as a doctoral student at UC Berkeley’s AMPLab. Listen to today’s episode to learn more about how H.Y. identified an opportunity to disrupt cloud storage with an open source project as his Ph.D. thesis. In this episode we discuss: H.Y.’s analysis of the data storage industry’s cyclical history How H.Y. balanced academics with the Alluxio community The 3 types of Alluxio contributors Use cases for Alluxio Links: Alluxio Spark Streaming Kubernetes Presto TensorFlow AMPLab
Contributor Trailer

Contributor Trailer


Learn about Contributor, a podcast about the best open source projects and the communities that build them.
Chef - Adam Jacob

Chef - Adam Jacob


Chef is a popular configuration management solution for system administrators. It is also the name of a company that distributes the software. Adam Jacobs is the creator of both of them as well as other open source projects. Hear from Adam the story of Chef's origins as well as what makes open source communities so important to him. The host, Eric Anderson, is an investor, via Scale Venture Partners, as well as a board member at Chef.
Envoy - Matt Klein

Envoy - Matt Klein


Envoy is an edge and service proxy, designed for cloud native applications. Matt Klein, an engineer at Lyft and creator of the project, tells the story.
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