Jacob Aronoff - At Least One Person Who Cares To See It Through

EP-154 | November 21, 2023 | 46:36

Robby has a chat with Staff Software Engineer at Lightstep from ServiceNow, Jacob Aronoff. Their conversation delves into the vital signs of a thriving open source software project. They unpack the characteristics of well-maintained open source endeavors, emphasizing the importance of a passionate community behind the project, rather than misleading indicators like GitHub stars. They discuss the nuances of evaluating a project's health through performance metrics, suggesting that a more holistic view that includes the scrutiny of open issues can provide better insights into the project's robustness and responsiveness to community needs. 

Furthermore, their discussion highlights a critical, yet often overlooked, aspect of open source software: the project's own dependencies. Jacob argues that understanding these dependencies is crucial before adopting an open source solution, as it could have far-reaching implications on the stability and security of one's own project. They also take a deep dive into the organizational dynamics of the OpenTelemetry community, examining its structured approach to scaling and sustaining the project over time. Their discussion then transitions into the philosophical debate of balancing between the extremes of premature abstraction and delivering a fully opinionated software project. 

Jacob shares his penchant for “building in the open”, advocating for transparency and community involvement in the development process. He provides valuable advice for both newcomers looking to contribute to open source projects and maintainers seeking to attract new talent. In a personal touch, he extends his gratitude to Robby for creating Oh My Zsh, sharing his own journey in developing a custom theme for it. 

Moreover, Jacob expresses his preference for pure functional languages, hinting at the broader discussion around programming paradigms and their influence on open source software development. Stay tuned for that and more!

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