Open Source Culture at Diagrid

Imagine working at a company where everyone is an open-source contributor, where your daily work shapes the future of cloud-native applications, and where you can see the tangible impact of your contributions in the wider developer community. Welcome to Diagrid, a company that puts open source first. In this blog you'll hear about the key tenets that make this reality.

Open Source Culture at Diagrid

Diagrid was founded by Yaron Schneider and Mark Fussell, co-creators of Dapr, with the mission to boost developer productivity by providing tools and APIs for building cloud-native applications. Since its inception in late 2021, Diagrid has been one of the major contributors to the Distributed Application Runtime (Dapr) open-source project in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

Together with contributors from multiple companies across the world, our engineers have driven innovations that power thousands of applications in production. From coordinating Dapr releases, presenting on community calls, delivering major requested features and improving test coverage, our contributions ensure Dapr remains robust and production-ready.

Our company puts open source first. In this blog I'll outline the key tenets that make this reality.

We are all open source contributors

Yes, everyone at Diagrid is an open source contributor. There are many roles and responsibilities required to run a successful open source project and contributions are way beyond source code contribution [1]. Diagrid contributes to open source not only with code fixes and features but also by presenting in conferences, creating samples, integrating with other open source projects, maintaining documentation, answering questions on Discord and many more. For example, our marketing team researched the Dapr community and compiled the state of Dapr report in 2023. Even our CEO leads by example by maintaining Dapr documentation to ensure it’s up to date and relevant. All the open-source work we do is part of individuals’ day to day responsibilities and only major initiatives need alignment with the company's leadership.

In engineering, we embrace open source in multiple ways. First, we have a dedicated team for open source maintenance. We believe that maintaining open source projects that we rely on is not only good for the open source community but also very healthy for our business in terms of goodwill, awareness, and the future of our company. Secondly, it allows us to have confidence that we build products on top of high quality open source code that fits in the cloud native ecosystem. Finally, it allows our company to be a bridge between the needs of our commercial customers and the open source community, bringing more confidence that the open source project can handle industry-scale production workloads.

Diagrid engineers have vertical ownership of each of our products, which includes not only our internal codebase but also the open source projects we depend on. Every engineer at Diagrid is expected to make the necessary contributions to the open source projects we directly depend on. We prioritize upstream contributions over an ever increasing internal fork, reducing complex patch management and sharing the improvements with the entire community.

Diagrid's Dedicated OSS Engineering Team

These are just a few examples of open source contributions from Diagrid:

We embrace open governance

At Diagrid, we work with open governance in mind, embracing and evolving the bylaws together with the community, seeking community consensus on everything we do. We also seek internal alignment on major open source initiatives and every individual is encouraged to express their individual opinion publicly on proposals, discussions, issues and pull requests in open source projects. Our engineers are also expected to give feedback on the open source contributions of their own managers and leadership team, following the project’s collaborative review process.

Last but not least, by embracing open governance, Diagrid shows commitment to Dapr’s permissive license through our support of the CNCF. One of the reasons that individuals and companies adopt CNCF projects is the guarantee that the project will not have a commercial license change in the future.

Introducing Dapr at KubeCon

We stay close to upstream

Diagrid supports customers where they are. We don't require customers to install a modified or proprietary version of Dapr to use our products and integrate with standard open-source tools. Diagrid Conductor, monitors, alerts and upgrades Dapr deployments on Kubernetes, for development and production workloads. All features and capabilities of Conductor rely on the Dapr OSS project, not a commercial version of Dapr. Diagrid Catalyst, a serverless, managed Dapr, works directly with Dapr's open source SDKs and does not require any Diagrid specific SDK. 

We use familiar open source tools for product development

As you would commonly find in open source engineering teams, all of our internal source code, discussions and issue tracking is on GitHub, including documentation and our CI/CD pipelines. Developers at Diagrid have a seamless transition between internal and open source code, with familiar tools and workflows. Each repository also has a set of internal maintainers that are required to approve pull requests before they are merged, just like in an open source project.

We hire open source contributors

Although not required, a history of open source (coding and non-coding) contributions is a positive factor to join Diagrid. When evaluating job applications, having contributions to relevant open source projects can be a strong differentiator. Diagrid has hired open source maintainers from projects like Dapr and Certmanager, also contributors of Dapr and Kubernetes. Some of our employees have taken a step further and authored books relevant to the cloud native space as well [2][3][4][5].

In the end, everybody wins

At Diagrid, we believe in the synergy between our product and open source work. Our open source culture empowers our engineers with vertical ownership to maximize their impact instead of waiting for others to make changes in open source. Our presence in the open source community generates awareness in our team, helping our products to better fit in the cloud native ecosystem and reduce the barrier of entry for open source users to become Diagrid customers.

Furthermore, our open source work adds to the CNCF’s ecosystem by contributing to Dapr and other projects in the space. The open source community benefits from our engagements in public forums and conferences, like helping them adopt Dapr or to simply get started. We review and help merge contributions from new as well as from seasoned contributors. Lastly, we are working with the CNCF to deliver Dapr’s graduation later this year!

All this work helps Dapr’s community and maintains Dapr as one of the projects with the greatest number of contributions in CNCF.

References

[1] Eghbal, N. (2020). Working in public: The making and maintenance of open source software. Stripe Press.

[2] Coyle, S. (2024). Go programming: From beginner to professional. Packt Publishing.

[3] Ibryam, B., & Huss, R. (2023). Kubernetes patterns: Reusable elements for designing cloud-native applications. O'Reilly Media.

[4] Salatino, M. (2023). Platform engineering on Kubernetes. Manning Publications.

[5] Schneider, Y., & Bai, H. (2022). Learning Dapr: Building distributed applications. O'Reilly Media.

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