NZOSA Finalists Part 4: Open Source Contributor
Over the next two months we'll be featuring the finalists from each category in the 2021 New Zealand Open Source Awards, preceding the February 2022 gala dinner and award announcements. Congratulations to all the finalists, and we look forward to celebrating all your valuable work at the gala dinner in February 2022.
Open Source Contributor
Kaikoha Pūmanawa Herekore
Evonne Cheung's contributions to the Mahara(external link) project: Graphically designing an open source project
Evonne is the Mahara team member who has been the longest on the project, now for close to 15 years. She established and shaped the brand for the Mahara project, keeping it contemporary and relevant.
We often celebrate open source from the coding perspective, but Evonne is an equally critical contributor to the project because graphic design is incredibly important for any modern web application. It can't just work functionally, but must also look good to be attractive to individuals and organisations.
Over the years, Evonne has adapted the brand and given it a major refresh, which was launched in January 2017. She also creates additional graphic visualisations that support the project maintainer team, such as 6-monthly Mahara themed thank you cards, social media templates, logos for user groups and conferences, and not to forget Mahara themes that follow modern guidelines of responsiveness and accessibility.
Besides being chiefly responsible for the look of the Mahara project, she also creates the actual CSS and performs a lot of the front-end work for Mahara. This synergy between graphic design and front-end has been working very well for the Mahara project because Evonne knows how far she can push a design and where the limitations are.
Samuel Williams’ contributions to the Ruby programming language
Samuel’s contributions to the Ruby programming language and the Async toolkit will enable Ruby developers to continue using their favourite language in new ways, where in the past they might have left the ecosystem.
In addition to providing Ruby core language improvements and a suite of open source tools, Samuel’s advancements with his open source async toolkit and concurrency primitives in the Ruby ecosystem make Ruby suitable for for highly scalable web development.
One of his recent achievements was the release of Ruby 3.0 with native support for Fibers.
Steve Purcell(external link)'s contributions to MELPA(external link); The most widely used Emacs package repository
For close to a decade, Steve Purcell has developed, maintained and stewarded the MELPA project. MELPA is a package repository for extensions to Emacs, one of the two most popular code editors in existence.
Steve's work on MELPA shows astounding dedication and humility. Along with his fellow maintainers, Steve provides code review for all packages submitted to the repository, often going so far as to collaborate with new package authors and to help them maintain packages he has no stake in.
This also provides a level of security and reliability far above what is normal of public package repositories in any context, and reflects Steve's selfless dedication to the Emacs community. His work is a large part of why Emacs has a reputation as one of the most powerful and flexible operating systems in the open source world.