Technology Subset

How the community gathered to spread some maintainer love – Technology Subset

During the month of May, the open source community celebrated Maintainer Month by hosting events, sharing maintainer stories, and sponsoring the maintainers behind the work we all depend on.

Maintainer Month is a time for open source maintainers to gather, share, and be celebrated. Over 31 days, 16 organizations came together to offer 42 activities convening and celebrating maintainers. Some highlights:

Balance, succession planning, and corporate funding

Some of our favorite #MaintainerMonth memories fit the themes for this year.

Theme for maintainers: finding balance, stepping back, and succession planning as leaders.

Many open source libraries have huge user bases all depending on a tiny maintainer team! On the Maintainer Month wall at OSS NA, Anne Bertucio gave a shoutout to “all the two-maintainer libraries with 10,000 users.” We hope those folks get a break, too.

Duane O’Brien invited us to explore the idea of Critical Human Infrastructure in open source–how people create sustainable software–based on his chat with Open Source Stories.

Screenshot of a post from Mastodon user that reads,

The SustainOSS team caught up with Bob Killen (Kubernetes Steering Committee) and Navendu Pottekkat (Apache APISI) to discuss leveling up contributors to take on larger project maintenance roles. On the theme of stepping back, Bob addresses how he’s creating a future where he can step back from some of his leadership roles eventually, by investing in mentorship now.

We heard Kelsey Hightower’s heartwarming story on the ReadME podcast–from avoiding burnout, to finding new leaders, to the importance of being in the room and inspiring the next generation of technologists that look like him.

On Open Source Stories, we heard about the peculiarities of security maintainership with Filippo Valsorda—including how essential saying ‘NO’ is to project security.

Theme for companies: now is the time to double-down on funding open source.

Looking for examples for how companies can start sponsoring open source? Changelog hosted a conversation with Duane O’Brien, Chad Whitacre, and Alyssa Wright on how companies are sponsoring OSS, diving into corporate models for choosing projects and divvying up funds. Bloomberg used this time to announce the second round of nominations for their FOSS fund!

Header image from the Changelog podcast with headshot photographs of each of the participants.

Many organizations used Maintainer Month to call attention to sponsoring maintainers and ask for nominations for maintainers to sponsor! The Open Source Initiative (OSI) asks us to “consider sponsoring a maintainer or contributing to an Open Source project” along with their newsletter on the vital role of open source maintainers facing the Cyber Resilience Act.

Ockam also celebrated sponsoring maintainers this month! They’re actively looking for recommendations for people and projects to sponsor in 2023. Do you know anyone building systems that are “secure by design”? Nominate a maintainer to sponsor here!

What are your favorite #MaintainerMonth memories?

As #MaintainerMonth draws to a close, we reflect on the incredible memories we’ve made together. From heartwarming stories of support to inspiring displays of resilience, this month has been a testament to the power of open source communities. But let’s not let the celebrations end here!

Let’s carry forward the spirit of connection and appreciation for the people behind these projects. Here are three ways you can continue fostering a culture of support for maintainers that lasts beyond a single month:

  1. Reach out to a maintainer to say thank you and share some support. Ask yourself: whose work do I rely on?
  2. Are you a maintainer? Reflect on your work using this open source burnout checklist from, and if you’re looking for advice, drop into the Maintainer Community. More importantly—can you schedule a vacation?
  3. Share your #MaintainerMonth memories to encourage others to support and celebrate maintainers

Together, let’s support maintainers to continue building the future of open source.

Thank you to our collaborators and Advisory Council

From hosting meetups, to writing blog posts, to editing podcasts and more–all of you made Maintainer Month a huge success!

@255kb @AbhinavRajesh @adamj89 @adamstac @AndreaGriffiths11 @awright @blackgirlbytes @camaleyjennings1 @Carreau @CBID2 @chadwhitacre Courtenay Pope @danielroe @demetris11 @DuaneOBrien @edwarnicke @ElizabethN Erica Allen @ErikEJ @FBoucher @feranmiokafor1 @FiloSottile @freakboy3742 @geekygirldawn @iamkingsleey @jerodsanto @JessicaTegner @jofftiquez @kelseyhightower Kristin O’Connell @LucioMSP @martinwoodward @miguelraz @mrbobbytables @msbise @msfussell @mumoshu @mvkaran @navendu-pottekkat @nerddiana @nerdneha @obi1kenobi @olybeke @pachicodes @prathamshroff @ricardomiron @robbmapp Roberto Perez @sarahboyce @shaunagm @simonw @slspencer @ssalbdivad @stormypeters @tiangolo Tiffany Cohen @Trenly @UlisesGascon @UrielOfir @Vlbryant @webchick

A special shout-out to the Maintainer Month 2023 Advisory Council:

@anajsana @DuaneOBrien @joshsimmons @juliaferraioli @melissawm @RichardLitt @Ruth-ikegah

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