Technology
8
minutes read

​​​​In Open Source we trust! A chat with Eddie Jaoude about the DNA of Open Source

Written by
Nathalie Kim
Published on
September 13, 2023
TL;DR

From nurturing one of the largest open-source communities to becoming GitHub Star of the Year, Eddie Jaoude shares his journey, visions, and a laugh or two in our deep-dive interview. Find out what's next for the open-source universe from one of its most passionate advocates. Don't miss out!

Author
Nathalie Kim
Brand and Marketing Specialist
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In a world where sharing is the new learning, open source stands tall as a beacon of collaboration and community growth. In our latest interview, we delve deep into the open-source universe with none other than Eddie Jaoude, a stalwart in the community. From understanding the future of open source to uncovering the secrets behind a successful career in tech, this interview is a goldmine of insights and inspiration. Join us as we explore Eddie's journey, his vision for the open source community, and the exciting road that lies ahead for enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Eddie Jaoude’s Bio

Eddie Jaoude stands as a pillar in the open source community, wearing many hats with grace and dedication. He is the proud founder of EddieHub, an open source community that fosters reciprocal collaboration among members of the tech community. His entrepreneurial spirit also gave birth to BioDrop, formerly known as LinkFree, a one-stop solution for connecting audiences through a single link. Eddie's commitment to open source has not only gathered him a community of like-minded enthusiasts but also crowned him as the GitHub Star of the Year.

Questions

Nat: Tell a couple of words about you and your company.

Eddie: I'm a full-stack developer and a passionate advocate for open-source technology. I'm also a content creator and a founder of EddieHub, an open source community, and LinkFree, a SaaS platform designed to help you connect with your audience seamlessly through a single link that recently completed the GitHub accelerator program.

Nat: What was the pivotal moment that ignited your passion for open source?

Eddie: A long time ago, even before Git and GitHub existed and pull requests weren’t called so, I started contributing to open source projects, mainly fixing typos. One day, a supportive maintainer encouraged me to do more, which was a turning point for me. It's a bit blurry to recall the exact project or person, but that encouragement was a pivotal moment. It led me to contribute more actively and eventually start my own open source community.

Nat: What is one heartwarming or funny story from your interactions with the open source communities?

Eddie: In the early days of EddieHub, before we had moderators or any automation like EddieBot (a bot that identifies non-inclusive words and suggests more friendly alternatives to keep the community a safe space), I was handling all the Discord messages myself. At that time, I was so active on Discord and was sending out responses so fast that someone genuinely asked if my account was a bot or a real person, given the speed and frequency of my responses. That was the moment that gave me a good laugh!

Nat: What are the most significant changes that took place in open source communities over the years that you noticed?

Eddie: As I mentioned before, I was already involved in open source, even before Git and GitHub. The most significant change I've noticed over the years is its shift to mainstream acceptance. It's not just about coding anymore; it has evolved into a collaborative and welcoming space for everyone, including technical writers, testers, and even designers who work to enhance project design and user experience. While there's still room for improvement, the focus has broadened to include various skills and expertise levels, welcoming newcomers who can offer fresh perspectives. Moreover, open source has become a fertile ground for building communities and spawning new businesses, which is incredibly exciting.

Nat: What is your vision for the future of the open source community?

Eddie: I'm optimistic about the future of the open source community, especially seeing that companies are recognizing the need for sustainability in open source. It's encouraging to see big corporations and banks, which utilize open source tools, beginning to financially support these projects through platforms like GitHub Sponsors. This trend towards sustainability has made the last few years very interesting, and I anticipate that the coming five years will be even more so as we witness further changes in this space, steering towards a more sustainable open source ecosystem.

Nat: What motivates you to invest so much time and resources in open source?

Eddie: I believe contributing to open source offers a lot more than just potential job opportunities in the future. For every bit of value I give, I feel I get back ten times more, not always in monetary terms but through learning and networking. It's somewhat like content creation with a lot of overlap.People might not associate it with high-paying jobs in tech, but I think it does lead to that in the long run, considering the success of many open source projects. It's not just about financial gains; it's about giving back, learning, and improving both technical and soft skills. I've personally benefited immensely, learning so much and even building a sustainable business. The landscape is changing, with many ways to benefit financially from open source, and I see a future where collaborating on code and building a community brings even more advantages.

Nat: Can you tell us about the latest tech trends you are keen to explore?

Eddie: While everyone is super excited about AI and Web3, I'm actually still really focused on exploring and learning more about the core fundamentals of what we refer to as Web 2.0. There are still so many improvements and aspects like Next.js, accessibility, security, and community collaboration that I want to delve deeper into. In particular, I am engrossed in my open source project, LinkFree that I'm working on. We are utilizing Next.js, Tailwind, Mongo, and a lot of automation, including automated testing. It's a vibrant community project with over 2000 contributions and about 8 maintainers, offering a great platform for everyone to learn, collaborate, and make improvements. I find myself immersed in it daily, sometimes to the point of losing track of time because there is just so much going on that I want to get involved in. So, I'm not necessarily jumping on the trending topics at the moment; I'm having a lot of fun continuing to learn about the previous topic where I feel there is still much to explore."

Rapid-fire round

Nat: Your biggest regret?

Eddie: My biggest regret is not starting to collaborate on open source and learning in public sooner. I wish I had begun sharing what I learned, my challenges, and successes on social platforms earlier. It's never too late to start, but I do wish I had started sooner.

Nat: How do you define success?

Eddie: For me, success is seeing LinkFree become a self-sustaining platform and witnessing community members of EddieHub land their dream jobs, whether it’s working remotely, working on open source projects full-time for a company, or a client. I get a lot of motivation from seeing others succeed.

Nat: Can you foresee a shift in your priorities away from open source in the future?

Eddie: I don't see a shift away from open source happening in the near future because, currently, all we do is open source projects; all our clients are in open source, and we operate everything in a hub. My team, which consists of three people, conducts everything in public, and we are planning to embrace even more transparency moving forward. I just have too much fun geeking out with the community, valuing their feedback and fresh perspectives. It's great to involve them, and I hope they find the process enjoyable and learn something from it as well. So, I don't think shifting away from open source is possible, given how much we enjoy working in this manner.

Nat: If you met a 10-year-old Eddie, what would you tell him?

Eddie: I would tell him to get involved in open source right away and that he doesn't need to be a coder to start; just getting involved in discussions and sharing thoughts can add so much value. I would urge him to start collaborating and geeking out.

Get to know Eddie.