Ria Farrell Schalnat

Living the open source culture at HPE

January 20, 2023

Here at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), we like to say that “open collaboration is in HPE’s DNA”. We believe open source technologies and communities can help deliver innovative solutions securely and at scale.  Certainly, open source has a lot to do with the technologies we deliver. But, importantly, it also has a lot to do with how we conduct business on a daily basis, like connecting across teams and business units to collaborate, play, and learn together.

HPE has an Open Source Program Office where we share projects and ideas during our weekly open source office hours – discussions in these sessions have even inspired some inner-sourcing projects.  We have an “Open for Challenge” team that competes with and against other company teams in our wellness challenges (right now, we’re tracking our steps to put open source fans at HPE on our company-wide leader board). But, my favorite collaboration activity is our Open Source & Tech Bookclub. Any HPE employee can join our internal Slack channel dedicated to discussing and exploring everything from legal tomes to cyberpunk fiction.

2022 was our inaugural year where we covered the following selections:

  • The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary by Eric S. Raymond (1999). I re-read this seminal treatise for the bookclub and was struck by just how much of ESR’s insights still hold true 20+ years later.
  • The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim (2018) is so engaging and fast-paced that it is practically a DevOps beach read.
  • The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source by Martin Fink (2003). Martin, originally part of HPE’s parent company HP, actually dropped by for our discussion which added a unique perspective to the topics covered in this book.
  • The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography by Simon Singh (2000) is one of my favorite books on cryptography – the author uses fantastically accessible analogies, includes a treasure hunt and makes quantum cryptography as understandable as possible without an advanced degree.
  • The Making and Maintenance of Open Source by Nadia Eghbal (2020) tackles one of the more recent issues in the sustainability of open source projects. This topic was meaty enough that we held a live happy hour for this discussion!

Once the bookclub had a baseline established, we held an active channel-wide vote on which books to expand our club into for the second year.  Here are our winners for 2023:

  • Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark - (2017) – I’ve only read the first chapter so far but it poses lots of provocative questions about the future.
  • Open Source Law, Policy and Practice - Second Edition, Edited by Amanda Brock (2022) (this one is available for free download from Oxford University Press). This one is jam-packed with articles by some of the leading minds in the open source world.
  • The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson – I haven’t started this one yet but I think it will be fascinating.
  • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson – the most amazing thing about this cyberpunk novel is that it was envisioned in 1992.

I’m looking forward to the discussions on all these books both in our virtual channel as well as our scheduled live discussions. I’m also looking forward to our virtual globe-trotting in the wellness step challenge. If you would like to work and play with us, consider checking out our job board or contributing to one of our featured open source projects!


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