Jan-Mar 2018: This year we have been buoyed by the growing size of our community and have turned towards larger projects on a year-round cycle, supported by funds from a variety of grants and fellowship programs. Our overall goal this year is to reduce the technical overhead of maintaining systems, and build a sustainable community leadership team that can carry these projects forward responsibly in a more distributed way.
This is "applications season" for our outreach programs, and we've seen a huge response this year (#call-for-proposals), and many applicants for summer fellowships who have already been engaged in our community for months.
Diversity, inclusion, and community growth
We've worked to improve and expand community facilitation and mutual support, as well as build on our commitment to diversity and equity in our work by supporting and encouraging a leadership group with strong representation by groups traditionally excluded in technology development; for the first time, a substantial proportion of our community leaders are women, and greater gender and racial diversity is reflected throughout our community. Our 2019 Software Contributors Survey helped us to better understand both our demographics how our approach to welcoming has worked.
Our community survey shows that ~33% of respondents identify as female or non-binary, which compares favorably with OpenSourceSurvey.org's report that only 4% of the broader open source community are identifying so. In addition, 87% of our community identify as non-white. (cited from our Software Contributors Survey)
We hope that the rich results from this survey can help us to improve even more, and look forward to the deep discussions and plans that will come out of this new information.
With support from Google's Office of Open Source, we are in the middle of a major, months-long project to rebuild and restructure the MapKnitter website and mapmaking toolkit. This has been a great opportunity to build out our leadership team, with five fellows leading projects which engage newcomers while solving substantial technical problems. We hope to begin public testing of the new systems in May.
In the next quarter, we will see a substantial reboot of the MapKnitter project, expansion of the Image Sequencer system (including a colorimetry app), implementation of major UI redesigns, and much more. Thanks to everyone who's helped make this a great quarter for Public Lab software!