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From Ross Gardler <rgard...@apache.org>
Subject Re: Academic outrech activities for Hadoop
Date Fri, 18 Dec 2009 17:51:33 GMT
On 18/12/2009 17:10, Isabel Drost wrote:
 > On Fri Ross Gardler<rgardler@apache.org>  wrote:
 >> It was therefore agreed that there is a real need for the academic
 >> sector to get to grips with Hadoop. Having large data sets and
 >> practical applications such as these would undoubtedly help the
 >> Hadoop project in terms of testing and validation. It's hoped that
 >> there would eventually be code contributions from the sector too.
 >
 > At least here in Berlin (TU Berlin as well as HPI Potsdam) there is
 > interest in contributing back to the community (in this case the
 > Hadoop and the Mahout community). Currently it is mostly student
 > projects done during labs that people (lecturers as well as some
 > students) are interested in contributing. I told them about the ASF
 > mentoring program already.

Excellent.

 > I have been talking to several local people, there are two to
 > three problems usually encountered in the academic sector:
 >
 > 1) Doing open source work does not give you any credits for your
 > scientific carrier, so there is little incentive to contribute back or
 > to release your work under an open source license. I personally have no
 > great idea how this problem could be fixed except through finding
 > interested individuals, discussing the advantages of free software in
 > general and personal participation in open source projects in
 > particular.

I face this problem every day in my day job. There are many incentives 
for contributing back, we just have to educated them. Some examples:

- better qualility research
- reproducable research
- sustainable research outputs
- exposure to addititional funding streams
- wider network of research collabroators

The problem is that they don't understand open source software 
development. in the commercial sector the equivalent argument is:

"There is no direct credit in my annual review, so there is little 
incentive to contribute back or to release my work under an open source 
licence."

 > 2) People are not really familiar with how to contribute to projects.
 > So there is a need for mentoring, explaining and getting the word out.

Again, I deal with that daily in my day job and now we have the 
Community Development project to help solve this problem. Of course this 
is true of the commercial world as well as the academic world.

 > 3) Some people are not familiar with the transparent, public model of
 > communication in most open source projects, especially here at the ASF.
 > Again, fixing this problem probably needs quite a bit of explanation
 > and "getting used to".

Most people - both academic and non-academic are unfamiliar with this model.

In all cases there are lots of resources available at 
http://www.oss-watch.ac.uk

These are written for the academic sector but in most cases are 
applicable to the non-academic sector.

 > Me personally, I made the experience, that it is comparably easy to
 > get students convinced. It does get a little harder with PhD. students
 > but is still possible. General lack of time when working on a PhD. adds
 > to the problems.

Agreeed. The key is to find people who actually understand the benefits 
and want to participate. With respect to Hadoop in the UK we have at 
least one research leader who wants to go this way (Simon Metson, cc'd).

Ross



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