DevNation Speakers – an interview with Facebook’s James Pearce

James Pearce is head of open source at Facebook and provided his thoughts on DevNation:

What session are you giving at DevNation?

“How Facebook does open source at scale”

Open source has always been a huge part of Facebook’s engineering philosophy. The company uses, maintains, and contributes to a significant number of major projects, in areas as diverse as native mobile tools, big data systems, client-side web libraries, back-end runtimes and infrastructure, and, through the Open Compute Project, server and storage hardware.


Many of Facebook’s open source contributions are technologies that meet its unique scale and performance challenges. In this session, we’ll look at examples of how Facebook supports existing projects, develops alternatives, or even pioneers new capabilities to do so—and then, of course, how it shares those improvements back to the community.

With hundreds of projects, thousands of engineers, and tens of thousands of participants, how does Facebook manage the open source portfolio itself, at scale? To answer that, we’ll also look at the way open source is woven into the company’s engineering workflow and culture, and how tooling and instrumentation allows it to stay open, stay responsible, and yet still move fast.

What are the three takeaways from your session?

  1. Facebook has always been an open source company starting with Mark Zuckerberg using PHP, but it has really accelerated its open source efforts in recent years.

  2. Facebook has built open source tools that were needed and are fairly unique. Come and see what we built and why – and get ideas for how to use them yourself.

  3. Learn about some of Facebook flagship projects (new Hack language w/ HHVM, React, IOS libraries, etc.) and their roadmap.

What do you find most exciting about DevNation?

  • I’m excited to finally talk about Facebook’s recent open source efforts

  • Interacting with open source folks from other companies – I have so much still to learn

What sessions are you looking forward to attend?

  • Sessions involving reactive stuff like Vert.x, jQuery, Twitter, Square, and other fun open source stuff

More about DevNation:  DevNation 2014, was our inaugural open source, polyglot conference for application developers and maintainers. Learn about DevNation and view its many recorded sessions here.  DevNation 2016 will be in San Francisco, USA, the week of June 28.  Be sure to follow its status on

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