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What Open Source Community is the Healthiest?

Start serving apples and vegetables at your next open source event

By Stephen Spector on Wed, 11/17/10 - 4:49pm.

When thinking of an open source developer, most us of probably think of a male in his 30’s, overweight, long beard, and socially awkward. While this is just a stereotype and not a true reflection of all open source developers, there is some truth in the weight category.

I believe that many open source developers (even general software developers) are typically overweight and you can easily see this in action at any open source event. However, I have just come back from an open source event where I was amazed at how healthy the developers were and can prove it.

Over the past three years I have planned and attended many open source events and predictably follow this pattern when ordering t-shirts for the attendees:


(% total shirts by size)

SMALL  - 5%


LARGE – 30%

X-LARGE – 35%

2X-LARGE - 15%

3X-LARGE – 10%


** Please realize that I am focusing on US open source developers only; when I host events in Asia and Europe I do order a much larger amount of SMALL and MEDIUM and much less in the 3X, 2X, and X-LARGE category).

Most people planning events might have an adjustment here or there for shirt sizes but I am comfortable using these percentages.  So, at last weeks OpenStack Design Summit event I followed the typical t-shirt order pattern that turned out to be a huge mistake.

Within the first 10 minutes of on-site registration, attendees took all SMALL and MEDIUM shirts with the majority of attendees having to take a X-LARGE or LARGE when they clearly needed a SMALL or MEDIUM. I just received all the left over shirts back at my office and can easily ship out most of the 2X-LARGE and 3X-LARGE shirts to anyone needing one.

My conclusion, OpenStack must have the healthiest open source community of developers in the United States. During the event, I picked up on this noticeable difference and discussed with several other people who also agreed with me. So, I am calling out a challenge to other open source communities in the US – prove to me that you are healthier than OpenStack.! Perhaps we can upload some photos to a common site with pictures of various developer communities to compare and maybe even we can try and start a US weight loss open source developer initiative.

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