Ruby Together

Staying the Course

Here at Ruby Together we feel it’s important to find ways to remind ourselves that time is, in fact, passing and that we are not, actually, living in one, long, eternal year. In that spirit, happy belated equinox and welcome to the other side!

We have officially entered a new phase in the year. Whether you’re entering the fall, as we are here in the US, or welcoming in another season, this turning point can be a good time to reflect on how far we’ve come this year, and how we’d like the remaining part of it to go. It’s a good time to review the goals we set out to meet and check whether they are on track, and if we want to make any adjustments going forward. It’s also a wonderful time to remember the importance of the work we do together and recommit to what we’ve been building.

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Since we started almost seven years ago, Ruby Together’s vision has been to serve as a reliable, reinforcing framework in the Ruby ecosystem, not only for the stability of the infrastructure, and vitality of the projects, but also for the wellness of the community. We set out to bring that vision to life with a two-fold mission:

  1. Cultivating healthy open source projects
  2. Working for and with the Ruby community

Cultivating healthy open source projects

The first challenge when cultivating healthy open source projects is agreeing about what “healthy” means. At Ruby Together we’ve focused on a few measures of project health where we can have the greatest impact. The first is increasing the number of open-source maintainers, to reduce burnout and the other risks that come with having a solo maintainer on a project. We’ve done this by choosing to bring in more developers with fewer hours per week, rather than aiming for only full-time developers.

The second is welcoming and encouraging new contributors with all levels of experience. We do this by making projects easy for anyone to contribute to, and establishing a collaborative, positive space for projects, with a clear enforcement policy. We also periodically do outreach, inviting developers who are just starting to become more frequent contributors.

One of our members Stephan Kämper shared, “I find a healthy, helpful and friendly community to be really important. Life, especially in these corona times, is hard enough. As a friend (and contributor to an ebook project I’m running) puts it in his contribution title: ‘We all are being hit the hardest’.”

Finally, when choosing new projects we strive for transparency with a publicly shared project proposal, evaluation and funding process.

Working for and with the Ruby community

You’ve heard it before on the Ruby official site: “The community that grows up around a programming language is one of its most important strengths.” We agree!

We are grateful to be supported by so many members of the large and longstanding Ruby developer community. We trust our members and invite them to hold us accountable in a number of ways. Our board is elected by our members, and maintains a public feedback forum. We also set limits on the amount of funding that companies can give. These limits prevent any one company from having too large an influence over the the projects we fund and the work we do.

“I value the idea that healthy open source languages, frameworks, and other foundational tooling isn’t ‘owned’ by any one company,” shares member Jared White. “A plethora of companies and individuals (and even governments!) is necessary to fund, maintain, and sustain open source software for the good of humanity.” 

Speaking of the work we do, we report to you exactly what we’ve done with the money you contribute in an update we publish every month, and you can subscribe here.

Finally, we collaborate with other Ruby community organizations: in the past we have worked with Ruby Central, RailsGirls, Google Summer of Code, and others to support the work they are doing for the Ruby community.

Moving our mission forward

A lot more is possible! The more we cultivate our community the more we can bring your dream projects to fruition.

Member Jared White envisions “A ‘Ruby component’ specification of some kind for web frameworks. For example: GitHub’s ViewComponent is very cool, but it’s Rails-only. If there were a lower-level spec that VC could build on top of, in theory it would work in Rails or Bridgetown equally.”

We welcome your new ideas, too.

We’re grateful for your support over the years and we’d love to be able to grow and keep supporting the projects that Ruby developers like you use every day. If you or your company would like to help us do so, you can sign up as a developer or as a company.

What are you reflecting on or revisiting this season? What would you like to see come together before the year is out? Feel free to share with us on on social media, and be sure to share this article too!