Simon Phipps speaking at DevRelCon London 2018

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Simon Phipps

President | Open Source Initiative

Simon Phipps

Simon Phipps is a consultant providing insight and knowledge on open source, digital rights and the emerging meshed economy to businesses and governments worldwide, as the founding principal of Meshed Insights Ltd. His writing is regularly featured in a variety of global publications and he is a frequent keynote speaker.

He is a pro bono director of the UK’s Open Rights Group and of The Document Foundation, creators of LibreOffice and of the Open Source Initiative, the non-profit organisation that acts steward of the canonical list of open source licenses and the Open Source Definition. He is currently also President of the Open Source Initiative.

Before his current work, he was involved at a strategic level in some of the world’s leading technology companies. In addition to senior leadership positions he has worked in such hands-on roles as field engineer, programmer and systems analyst, as well as run a software publishing company. He worked with OSI standards in the eighties, on the first commercial collaborative conferencing software in the nineties, and helped introduce both Java and XML at IBM. He was a founding Director of the Open Mobile Alliance.

In mid-2000 he joined Sun Microsystems where he helped pioneer Sun’s employee blogging, social media and community engagement programmes. In 2005 he was appointed Chief Open Source Officer, coordinating Sun’s extensive participation in Free and Open Source software communities until he left in 2010. In that role he oversaw the conversion to Free software of the full Java platform, the Solaris UNIX operating system, the SPARC architecture and the rest of Sun’s broad software portfolio, all under OSI-approved Free licenses.

He holds a degree in electronic engineering and is a former Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the British Computer Society. His personal home page and blog is


Open source and the dev rel origin myth

Open source won. Without it, developers would be at the mercy of a handful of large corporations with equally large licence fee demands.

Twenty years after the creation of the Open Source label, what relevance does open source have for developer relations? Is open source even relevant at all to developer relations?

In this talk, OSI President Simon Phipps argues that, without open source, developer relations would never have grown into the force it is today.


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