2021 Election Campaign: Phillip Carter

Who am I

Well howdy folks! I used to be the F# PM at Microsoft for a little over 5 years. The work there spanned strategy for the language and tools, release management, language design, tooling design, tooling implementation, community outreach, and docs for F#.

I don’t do this anymore, as I’m now working for a startup called Honeycomb. And not doing F# there either. Oops!

Why I’d like to be on the board again

In short, there’s change afoot, and I think it helps to have some continuity during that change.

In the early days of the FSSF, I think it filled a critical role as a central point for the F# community to rally behind and push narratives about F# related to usage in industry. It was also a non-official home of several important pieces of F# technology, critically those meant for cross-platform F# long before Microsoft ever cared about things outside of Windows and Visual Studio.

But those days are not today. There are some realities about F# that don’t really align with the “good old days” of the foundation anymore:

  • Microsoft is more committed to F# than ever, and they critically maintain the core toolchain F# developers use regardless of their environment or OS
  • Jetbrains has stepped up to offer an alternative IDE for F# developers
  • Community tooling for F# via Ionide is in a good enough place that people can legitimately rely on it for daily industrial use (subject to qualifications around OSS sustainability in general, which it suffers from, but is also not uniquely suffering
  • The fable, websharper, and bolero technologies and communities have spread F# to other domains successfully
  • There are many different communities unrelated to the FSSF that have happy member producing good things and they are content with not being centralized
  • Usage of F# is simply not centered around northwester Europe anymore

I think the FSSF was successful in its goals. But it now has less of a place in F# than ever before in part due to being successful in its initial goals. There are some challenges to overcome:

  • It is not structured in a way that it can be used to advertise on behalf of F#, despite outreach being a core goal of the FSSF
  • It is not structured in a way that allows it to be the official technical home of several F# community projects
  • Various programs have halted or become irrelevant (e.g., diversity program primarily about getting conference slots when most conferences are now online and thus more equitable in who can attend)

If we were to not consider the FSSF slack for a moment (a fairly large, active community) then there’s not much that the FSSF is bringing to the table. It has a website with good SEO. Cool.

I’ve been a part of the FSSF for several years now, and I’ve seen this fading happen and not been able to do much about it, in part due to how the foundation is structured.

To that end, I’d like to stay on with a smaller board to try and figure out the purpose of the FSSF moving forward. Maybe that means less programs. Maybe that means figuring out some loophole to promote F# itself more overtly. Maybe that means donating the FSSF to the .NET Foundation, who are structured to do more outreach than us today. Maybe that mean shuttering the foundation as it stands and reforming under a different structure so that things like outreach and advertisement are more possible. I don’t have the answers, but I’ve been around long enough such that I feel like I could help navigate this stuff with appropriate context and appreciation for the history of the thing that I’m a part of.

In addition to that, despite not being at Microsoft any more, I remain committed to being an active member of the community across the internet, help with OSS maintenance, and also remain active in various F#-related things like language design to continue to process moving along.

As always, I intend on being responsive, transparent, and open about things. I also intend on being as present as possible in the FSSF slack for anyone to chat with about stuff.

Thanks for the consideration!