Hello Ohloh World

Hello World! I’m excited to say hi to you all as Black Duck’s new Senior Product and Community Manager for Ohloh.net.

Right now, you’re probably wondering one of two things: “Who are you?” or “This is very interesting.”

Let’s start with my backstory first, to catch the first group up. Then we’ll go from there.


I’m a developer, born and raised. My first computer was a Texas Instruments 99-4A, where I became addicted to Scott Adam’s Pirate’s Adventure (Say Yoho!) text-based RPG. I named my short-hair collie Cecil after Final Fantasy II (US-release version #), the greatest RPG story line ever (not to mention the greatest dog as well). I double-majored in Computer Science and Mathematics, where I worked as a developer on the WebTOP project, using VRML and Visual J++ to simulate physics lab experiments on the web.

But let’s just get to the interesting part…

Upon graduation, I went to work for Microsoft. Yep, Microsoft, where I was for the past 9 years. (Don’t worry, it’s cool. Keep reading.) I ran RedHat in college, constantly hitting freshmeat.net (“never dot-com, never dot-org,” as I was warned) as my one-stop shop for all things Linux. Next thing I know, I’m graduating and moving to Seattle for personal reasons, so I decided to interview with Microsoft to check them out. I ended up joining the Visual Studio team as a developer on their automation framework. I’ll never forget my first day, where I asked my officemates, “um, what’s the command-line equivalent of ‘ls’ to look up files in a directory?” If you want to talk about some strange looks, come find me sometime.

Open Source

I spent the last 5 years promoting open source development on CodePlex.com, the Microsoft’s open source project hosting site. During my tenure as the Program Manager for CodePlex.com, I watched 10,000 open source projects get created on a forge hosted by Microsoft. I believe a large part of this success comes from utilizing agile methodologies to respond to community feedback via site enhancements. In upcoming posts, I’ll talk about how agile is the most fundamental thing you can do to improve the user satisfaction of your site.

At EclipseCon 2010, I demoed the Eclipse plug-in formally known as Teamprise that allow you to connect to a Team Foundation Server (or a CodePlex project using TFS). Since IDEs are a bit of a hobby for me, it was fun and rewarding to learn Eclipse again after so many years.


Community is my passion. I believe in being transparent (where we are with feature priorities) and in being responsive (we can’t do everything overnight for everyone, but I guarantee each and everyone one of you a timely response). I’ve had tremendous role models, like Jono Bacon, the Ubuntu Community Manager and author of The Art of Community, and Ross Turk, former Community Manager for SourceForge, give me guidance over the years in what makes communities successful. I’m both thrilled and humbled to have this chance to work even more closely with community leaders in open source.

Paging in Ohloh

An idea I’ve always had running in the background was this concept of a “one-stop shop” for all things open source, regardless of development platform, language, or business model. At OSCON 2008, I gave a talk called Towards a Stronger Open Source Ecosystem to discuss my personal views of lowering barriers to adoption and communication in open source.

I view being the Product and Community Manager of Ohloh the chance of a lifetime. Ohloh is an incredible opportunity for me to put together my agile development experience, my “lowering the barriers to open source” experience, and my 7 years of passion and experience in online communities. Additionally, the Black Duck KnowledgeBase has been a longtime curiosity of mine. As a developer, I’ve always wondered what’s in there, what sort of data do they have on 300,000 OSS projects, and how to utilize it. And finally, getting to incorporate an incredible site like Koders (Hi @Haacked!), a code search engine of 3 billion(!) lines of source, the potential of Ohloh is HUGE.

What’s Next

As I’m sure every one of you reading this is curious, here’s my short list of //TODOs:

  • Start fixing top priority bugs – We’ve been in the forums already, resolving your login issues, license identification issues, and most importantly enlistment issues. We’re also working on a list of top bugs while we work on our data center migration.
  • Getting out into the community by listening to your feedback, setting up the best feedback loops, being transparent with our priorities and updates, going to various user groups in the Silicon Valley area.
  • And on a personal note, Start learning Ruby on Rails and join a local Ruby user group in Silicon Valley. As a born and raised developer, I can’t stand not being able to see at least some of the code in my head when I talk to developers. Who knows, maybe the Ohloh devs will let me check in one day! I have 133 lines in Visual Studio and I got to write some HTML for CodePlex.com, and I didn’t break the build on either one. 😉

If you feel something is missing from my short list, please let me know.

Contact Me

Here’s where you can find me right now
– This blog!
– sford at blackducksoftware dot com
Personal Blog for geeking out over shotokan karate, triathlons, Doctor Who
BTW, in case you’re Googling me, wondering where my past blog content has gone, I migrated everything to http://saraford.net. It was important to me that I would be able to continue to respond to readers on my old blog.

Thanks! And as I said above, I’ve committed myself to Ohloh’s development and service as the most comprehensive, most trusted, free site to the open source community.

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