Sharing “The Faces of Open Source”

A few weeks ago we learned about some great work underway by Shane Martin Coughlan: putting a face to the vibrant open source community, and the fascinating discussions happening within it, through a series of interviews—we thought we’d share them here in a new series.

“I’ve been enjoying ‘The Faces of Open Source Law.’ It’s excellent to hear the voices and see the faces behind the famous names in this space as they are usually detached far behind a screen. I feel a real connection to them.”
— Chris Lamb, Debian Project Leader

Shane’s first series, focused on open source law, included several current and former OSI Board Directors–so obviously we were interested in featuring those–yet, the conversations with others working in and with open source software proved just as valuable: personal motivations and interests that drive participation, insights on licenses and licensing, opinions on current legal issues, and even community related activities that help foster collaboration and build projects. Shane was kind enough to share his work and we’re very pleased to post it here. Shane will also be providing some additional content for us through his “production notes”, which offers his thinking behind the topics covered, some insights gleaned from the discussions, and even take-aways for the reader/viewer from his own experiences.

Again, we’re very excited to offer these to you here, and thank Shane for all his good work.


I had the idea for producing a series about the faces of open source law about five years ago. The developers in open source had a lot of events and – compared to the legal people – lots of international exposure. Yet the people driving both communities were fascinating, approachable and generally awesome. So what if we gave the legal people more exposure, tied names and email addresses to real stories, and built a new community bridge? At the time I was pretty busy scaling the Open Invention Network community of patent non-aggression and working on policy issues via OpenForum Europe so I put the idea on my “to-do” list.

Fast forward to 2017 and I had a little more bandwidth, the idea still seemed valid, and a large number of the faces behind open source law were gathering for a conference in Barcelona. On final last day of the event I set up my camera in a quiet(ish) section of the networking zone and sat down between presentations to record the entire season. The egotistical version is that I pre-planned to capture a great series of interviews in one afternoon. The real version is that we had space in the last hours of the last day and I rolled a dice to see what we got. What we got was something pretty special.

First up in “The Faces of Open Source Law” was a figure who has quite literally acted as a bridge between the technical and legal side of open source for many years: Armijn Hemel. He has been involved in extensive community engagement in, extensive business engagement as a consultant, and less visible but immensely valuable networking between all types of people and organizations across our field. This is his story.

Armijn Hemel:

“Armijn Hemel – The Faces of Open Source Law – Season 1 – Episode 1” is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution license.