Reports from Maintainerati Berlin now available

May 1st 2020

I'm happy to announce that the reports from the Maintainerati unconference in Berlin in May 2019 are now available to download

Maintainerati Berlin brought together nearly 80 maintainers from all over the world to share their experiences of running and maintaining digital infrastructure projects. The reports present a summary of the many, and varied, discussions that took place on 24 May 2019 in the Spreespeicher Center in Berlin.

The Event Report presents an analysis of 12 “Key Challenges and Lessons” that occurred repeatedly across the different sessions. For each one we describe what it is, what participants think causes it, and their ideas for how to solve it. In the conclusion, Creating Culture Change, we make some initial suggestions for what can be done to create healthier open source communities.

The Session Notes are a record of all 29 discussion sessions that took place on the day.We are making these session summaries freely available in the hope that maintainers, researchers and policy-makers can use them to better understand the problems faced by communities developing digital infrastructure. We have provided our own analysis in the Event Report, but we encourage the open source community to dig deeper on their own.

To learn more, visit the Maintainerati website or contact me at

Is tax cultural? Part II: Migration and the EU

April 2nd 2019

Can culture affect taxation behaviours? In Part 1, I explored how cultural issues regarding compliance and morale affect taxation behaviour. In this article I look closer at how taxation attitudes and rules can affect migration decisions. This is particularly an issue in the European Union, where the single economic area should theoretically encourage cross-border migration.

Is tax cultural? Part I: Compliance and morale

March 25th 2019

Can tax be cultural? The answer is a definitive “yes.” Whether we pay our tax happily and on time, or try to avoid paying it at all, can be determined not only by our personal characteristics, but also by where we come from. 

These differences in tax culture have been described in many different branches of research, including psychology, economics, and sociology. In the early days, this work focused less on the behaviours of people, and more on why tax systems varied from place to place.

Why do barriers to cross-border payments exist in the EU?

March 11th 2019

People living and travelling in the European Union face ongoing difficulties managing their finances across national borders. Payments present ongoing problems for cross-border travellers and commuters, since EU countries differ as to what kinds of payment mechanisms dominate, and credit cards aren't accepted everywhere.

For example, some parking meters in the Netherlands only accept Dutch debit cards, which can cause problems for German and Belgian day-trippers who cross the border to shop. And if the situation is difficult for EU residents, it is even harder for migrants from outside the EU.