Meeting Notes for October: The Unbearable Vulnerability of Open Source

Sat, 10/14/2017 - 12:43 -- JackC

300 Rockefeller Hall, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY

Lightning Talks

Mike Kerchoff: Kryptonite - A New Home for your SSH Private Key

Mike presented Kryptonite, an app for your Smartphone that maintains your SSH private key and interfaces directly with your computer to negotiate a secure link without exposure of your private key. Long our (and really, anyone's) GoTo guy for anything security related, Mike illustrated how this app maintains your private SSH key and never exposes it as a clear-text file on your computer. You link your system to the app on your phone, which negotiates the keys, and allows the connection to proceede. A valuable security enhancement!

Sean Dague: Updated LUG Banner Image 

Planned changes to the group into Meetup and other venues had Sean looking at, and thinking about, our Image presented to the world. Sean started poking around for images and some way to make things more interesting. He came up with Collage - a neat way in Python 3 (must be at least this version) to combine lots of images into a very nice collection that is easily modifiable. The results may soon be available on our pages. Sean showed how creation of a nice presentation was fast, and easily re-arranged and managed. It's going to look quite nice!

Main Talk

Eileen Uchitelle: The unbearable Vulnerability of Open Source

Eileen presented an enlightening talk on many of the Social Issues we face when thinking about and actively contributing to the Open Source arena. As stated by Eileen:

"The problem is a general distrust that a change will be accepted"

"What if no one likes my feature?" "What if my code is 'bad'?" - Questions like this go through your mind when you are contributing.

Open Source is not about software, it's about people! People make us feel vulnerable. Eileen discussed methods for managing this:

  • Mentorship
  • clear guidelines
  • Asking for Help
  • Respect!
  • Git Hub Tools (noting new contributors, etc.)

Open Source is about Users, Contributors and Maintainers - otherwise, it is without purpose (what good is a bit of Open Source Work, if it is never pulled?). Good, non-violent communication is often a key item. Eileen suggests a talk by Nadya Odunayo: This Code Sucks

Eileen advises that you:

  • Contribute to the projects you use
  • Observe community behaviour
  • Learn how to accept rejection (because it WILL happen!)
  • Above all -Be Respectful!

Much, much more was presented. It is always informative to have a talk from Eileen. Good discussion held following her presentation. 

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