The truth about our Open Source

Musings and Realizations from All Things Open

adult with computer by Burst is licensed under CC0

I recently spoke at All Things Open, a huge conference with over 3,000 participants, based in Raleigh, North Carolina. My talk was on turning any lesson, talk, or teaching into an interactive, creative session. Other sessions at the conference focused around a variety of perspectives related to open source. That made me think about our open source software at Collective Idea, because here’s the truth, we have a lot we can improve upon.

When Collective Idea started in 2005, the Rails community was just getting going. There was a true need for lots of gems and packaged functionality. In that regard we kicked butt. We were great at solving hard problems and figuring out how to package these pieces of functionality and share them with the world. We still do this. Sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong, we are still great at solving hard problems and open sourcing libraries and useful gems. We’re also still actively maintaining some open source software. But, for as much as we are actively trying to do, we have an equal amount of repositories that need help. To that point, we’ve been spending the last few months gardening.

Our repositories could be better. We need to add contributor covenants. We need better contributing guidelines so that people who spend time contributing don’t think their contributions go into the abyss. We also want them to know how frequently we review these issues or pull requests. There’s also a need for templates so that our READMEs are better and easier for ANYONE and EVERYONE to use because we all know that good documentation is one of the main reasons folks decide to use something open source.

Collective Idea has always cared deeply about the community. We strive to extract useful libraries or solutions to problems and share them with the community as a whole. We’re committed to gardening what we have, making repositories easier for folks to use regardless of their experience level in tech, and continuing to open source new ideas. We know we have work to do, but we are looking forward to what comes next. In the meantime, check out some of our open source software like audited, delayed_job, and interactor.

How is your company’s open source? What are you most proud of and where do you think your company can do better?

Photo of Allison McMillan

Allison was first introduced to programming at a Rails Girls workshop after a career as a nonprofit executive. She is also an international conference speaker living in the Washington, DC area. When she’s not writing code for us, she invests her time leading the People Committee which focuses on the health and happiness of our team members!


  1. Ankit Singh
    November 22, 2017 at 8:07 AM

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