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Author: Eric Anderson

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The origin story behind the best open source projects and communities.
24 Episodes
Eric Anderson (@ericmander) and Sheng Wu (@wusheng1108) discuss Apache SkyWalking, an open-source APM tool focusing on cloud-native and distributed systems. SkyWalking was originally developed in 2012 as a training tool for developers new to distributed systems architecture, but it became Sheng’s pet project for several years until he brought it to the Apache Incubator program. Listen to today’s episode for the inside scoop of how this “hidden gem” fits into the Apache network of open-source software projects. In this episode we discuss: Why open-source APMs are not very common SkyWalking’s focus on attracting more contributors rather than users How a conflict of interest at Huawei led to a “bake-off” between Apache and CNCF The impact of Elastic changing their license on the open-source community The name “Skywalking,” its sources of inspiration, and an easter egg Links: Apache SkyWalking Kubernetes The Apache Incubator CNCF Tetrate Apache ShardingSphere Apache APISIX Envoy Proxy Apache Airflow Apache Beam Dynatrace New Relic Elastic Helm Zipkin Other episodes: Envoy Proxy with Matt Klein
Eric Anderson (@ericmander) and Fred K. Schott (@FredKSchott) dive into the world of Snowpack, an open-source, frontend build tool for web developers. Snowpack is special because it uses Javascript’s ES module system to instantly write file changes to the browser. Fred created Snowpack and the Skypack CDN to fulfill his vision of the future of the web, which he first recognized while trying to advance the Javascript ecosystem with an earlier project called Pika. On today’s episode, find out how Fred rejected the pain of modern web development, and came up with a better solution. In this episode we discuss: Reconfiguring old ideas for today’s web development landscape How Snowpack and Skypack lighten the load when it comes to Node modules and storage space Questioning what it means to build a modern application that works for developers and users alike Skypack and the future of shared dependencies across different sites Why Snowpack is using an open governance framework Links: Snowpack Skypack OCTO Speaker Series - Fred K. Schott Svelte React Ripple Microsite Deno Next.js esbuild webpack People mentioned: Rich Harris (@Rich_Harris) Nate Moore (@n_moore)
Eric Anderson (@ericmander) and Travis Oliphant (@teoliphant) take a far-reaching tour through the history of the Python data community. Travis has had a hand in the creation of many open-source projects, most notably the influential libraries, NumPy and SciPy, which helped cement Python as the standard for scientific computing. Join us for the story of a fledgling community from a time “before open-source was cool,” and their lessons for today’s open-source landscape. In this episode we discuss: How biomedical engineering, MRIs, and an unhappy tenure committee led to NumPy and SciPy Overcoming early challenges of distribution with Python What Travis would have done differently when he wrote NumPy Successfully solving the “two-option split” by adding a third option Community-driven open-source interacting with company-backed open-source Links: NumPy SciPy Anaconda Quansight Conda Matplotlib Enthought TensorFlow PyTorch MXNet PyPi Jupyter pandas People mentioned: Guido van Rossum (@gvanrossum) Robert Kern (Github: @rkern) Pearu Peterson (Github: @pearu) Wes McKinney (@wesmckinn) Charles Harris (Github: @charris) Francesc Alted (@francescalted) Fernando Perez (@fperez_org) Brian Granger (@ellisonbg) Other episodes: TensorFlow with Rajat Monga
Scylla with Dor Laor

Scylla with Dor Laor


Eric Anderson (@ericmander) and Dor Laor (@DorLaor) go under the hood of Scylla, the open-source NoSQL database designed for low latency and high throughput in big data applications. Dor and his team have reimplemented Apache Cassandra in C++ from scratch, with additional compatibility for DynamoDB. In today’s episode, Dor shares details on the exciting work coming out of ScyllaDB, including Seastar, their open-source C++ framework. Also, check out Scylla Summit 2021 to learn what’s next for Scylla. In this episode we discuss: Enabling Scylla to “gain control” by implementing Apache Cassandra in C++ How Dor and his co-founder were ahead of the curve with their vision for virtualization Scylla’s unique shard-per-core architecture Working with distributed teams, even before the COVID-19 pandemic The growing significance of separating the interface from the engine in open-source Learn about Project Circe, which is being featured at Scylla Summit 2021 right now Links: Scylla Seastar Scylla Summit 2021 Apache Cassandra DynamoDB MongoDB Redhat QEMU Redis Vectorized Apache Hadoop Apache HBase Apache Beam Apache Flink Apache Spark People mentioned: Avi Kivity (@AviKivity)
Eric Anderson (@ericmander) chats with Sven Efftinge (@svenefftinge), Christian Weichel (@csweichel) and Gero Posmyk-Leinemann (Github: @geropl) about their work on Gitpod, an open-source Kubernetes application that allows engineers to spin up a server-side dev-environment from a Git repository, all within their browser. The three team members are part of TypeFox, a consulting firm that specialized in developer tools for different companies before branching out into open-source projects. Upon Gero’s hiring at TypeFox, he was tasked with creating a minimum viable product for the idea that would eventually become Gitpod. Tune in to hear how shifting from consulting to working on their own open-source projects was a breath of fresh air for the developers at TypeFox. In this episode we discuss: How Gitpod solves the problem of switching between multiple dev environments, and improves deep code review The trap that many open-source founders fall into Why TypeFox wanted to switch from a consulting firm to a product shop Details on how Gitpod handles licensing Learn how you can instantly try out a Gitpod environment for any existing Github repository Links: Gitpod TypeFox Theia Kubernetes People mentioned: Anton Kosyakov (@akosyakov) Sid Sijbrandij (@sytses)
oso with Graham Neray

oso with Graham Neray


Eric Anderson (@ericmander) interviews Graham Neray (@grahamneray) about oso, the open-source policy engine for authorization. oso was originally born from a desire to make infrastructure and security easier for developers, which is why Graham and his company describe themselves as being in the “friction-removal business.” Listen to today’s episode to learn how the team at oso are working to put security in the hands of developers.  In this episode we discuss: Developers building RBAC (role-based access control) systems over and over again Why open-source is the best way to handle authorization logic The history behind oso’s core policy language, Polar How someone beat Graham to the punch submitting oso to a Python newsletter Comparing oso and OPA (Open Policy Agent) Links: oso Stripe Trulioo MongoDB Auth0 Show HN OPA Polar Adventure People mentioned: Sam Scott (@samososos) Alex Plotnick (Github: @plotnick) Stephen Olsen (@olsenator4) Other episodes: Presto on Contributor OPA on Contributor
Eric Anderson (@ericmander) is joined by Rajat Monga (@rajatmonga), a co-creator of TensorFlow. Originally developed by the Google Brain team, TensorFlow is now one of the most popular open-source libraries for machine learning. The team at TensorFlow seek to “democratize” the world of AI as we know it, and by all accounts, they are succeeding. Listen to today’s episode to get inside one of the largest and most exciting open-source projects of the decade. In this episode we discuss: How TensorFlow compares to other open-source projects at Google Taking bets on launch day numbers Balancing the demands of different kinds of TensorFlow users Lessons from Keras and PyTorch Links: TensorFlow Keras  PyTorch Kafka Kubernetes MapReduce: Simplified Data Processing on Large Clusters Bigtable: A Distributed Storage System for Structured Data People mentioned: Jeff Dean (@JeffDean) Andrew Ng (@AndrewYNg) François Chollet (@fchollet)
Eric Anderson (@ericmander) and Frank McSherry (@frankmcsherry) dive into Materialize, a source-available streaming database that lets engineers build real-time applications. Frank is a data processing expert whose work at Microsoft Research on the Timely and Differential Dataflow models culminated in the Materialize project. Tune in to today’s episode to learn how the team at Materialize are making the technology from cutting-edge data research accessible to a wider swath of users. In this episode we discuss: Sharing early ideas with an “academic open source” approach How Materialize made a commitment to correctness Frank’s developmental philosophy of iterative thinking Novel applications for the Materialize community Changing the way we approach problems with real-time data processing Links: Materialize Naiad: A Timely Dataflow System DryadLINQ Apache Arrow People mentioned: Arjun Narayan (@narayanarjun) Derek Murray (@mrry)
Eric Anderson (@ericmander) speaks with Thomas Graf (@tgraf__) about Cilium, the open-source networking, observability, and security software for cloud-native applications based on eBPF. Thomas is the co-founder and CTO of Isovalent, which maintains both eBPF and Cilium. Listen to today’s episode for a discussion of how Thomas’ work has leveled up the Linux kernel and the possibilities of network infrastructure in a cloud-native world. In this episode we discuss: The impact of simultaneous development on Cilium and eBPF Google’s incorporation of Cilium Shortening the gap between writing kernel code and its deployment What JavaScript and eBPF have in common Cilium’s sister project, Hubble Links: Cilium eBPF Isovalent Red Hat OpenShift Kubernetes Docker New GKE Dataplane V2 increases security and visibility for containers SPIFFE Istio People mentioned: Brendan Gregg (@brendangregg) Other episodes: Istio on Contributor
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
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