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Why Open Source?

As many of you know, Pivotal Labs has long been an advocate of Open Source development. We rely on it for all our work and we have always seen it as crucial to continuing technical innovation. In fact, we’ve been encouraging Pivots to contribute  to Open Source projects for more than 10 years. (Before GitHub!) We’ve never forgotten how much we owe to the talent and hard work of the Open Source community. That’s why over the years we’ve open-sourced all of the code we’ve written internally that we think would be useful to the community.

The kinds of Open Source projects we tend to come up with are typically in the area of developer tools that are aligned with how Pivotal Labs builds software, especially in terms of the rigor and discipline that are core to our development process. This includes popular unit testing frameworks such as Jasmine and Robolectric. There are also tools to help with various challenging parts of the development process that are sometimes overlooked, such as how to keep track of the Open Source projects and licenses your codebase relies on.

As part of our commitment to Open Source development, we’re formalizing our contributions to the Open Source community in two ways. First, we will be contributing the equivalent of a pair of developers every business day of the year to Open Source work (that’s at least 4,000 hours per year). Secondly, we are applying more discipline around maintaining our most popular projects – there’s an internal owner for each project who’s responsible for community support and managing developers working on the project.

We believe this more explicit commitment is important as a way to transmit the proven Pivotal Labs practices we’ve come to rely on, and to further strengthen Pivotal Labs’ position as leaders in the community. Additionally, we believe this initiative will benefit both developers and Pivotal Labs’ clients, by encouraging the kind of rigorous, disciplined agile development we practice every day.

You can find more detail about these key projects at our new Tools page and Davis has more to say about them in his post.

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