Geek Empowerment - The Real Heart of Open Source
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Geek Empowerment - The Real Heart of Open Source

on

  • 679 views

As delivered at Linuxfest Northwest 2014. Open Source has succeeded in so many ways. But is it in danger of losing its greatest single value: empowering geeks to be more than just obedient coders?

As delivered at Linuxfest Northwest 2014. Open Source has succeeded in so many ways. But is it in danger of losing its greatest single value: empowering geeks to be more than just obedient coders?

Statistics

Views

Total Views
679
Views on SlideShare
663
Embed Views
16

Actions

Likes
2
Downloads
1
Comments
0

2 Embeds 16

https://twitter.com 15
http://www.pinterest.com 1

Accessibility

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

Geek Empowerment - The Real Heart of Open Source Geek Empowerment - The Real Heart of Open Source Presentation Transcript

  • Linuxfest Northwest 2014 Geek Empowerment: The Real Heart of Open Source --- Russell Pavlicek Xen Project Evangelist Russell.Pavlicek@XenProject.org
  • About the Old, Fat Geek up front... ● Linux user since 1995; became a Linux advocate immediately ● Delivered many early talks on Open Source Advocacy ● Former Open Source columnist for Infoworld, Processor magazines ● Former weekly panelist on “The Linux Show” ● Wrote one of the first books on Open Source: Embracing Insanity: Open Source Software Development ● 30 years in the industry; 20+ years in software services consulting ● Currently Evangelist for the Xen Project (employed by Citrix) ● Over 50 FOSS talks delivered; over 150 FOSS pieces published
  • Open Source: Success... or Failure? ● Open Source drives the world! – The Internet breathes Open Source air ● Web servers, mail servers, app servers, etc. ● Silent benefactor of the Y2K insanity – So many companies tapped out budgets with Y2K, yet needed Web technologies – Sysadmins improvised with low cost, high quality FOSS solutions which often ran on scrap hardware – But it wasn't always this way...
  • 1990s: The Fight for Legitimacy ● In the 1990s, everyone wanted legitimacy – Constantly ignored by analysts, trade media, C-level mangement – Open Source was dismissed as “hacker's toys” – Software “written by teenagers in their garages” – Movement was almost 100% volunteer hackers – Passion ran high, code was moving fast, but Free Software / Open Source was not held in high regard at all
  • Today: Open Source has Legitimacy! ● We are active throughout the IT industry – Trade Media regularly report on Open Source news – C-level Management is acquainted with, if not embracing, the presence of Open Source in the datacenter – Analysts even pay attention – Huge numbers of people are employed creating, using, and supporting Open Source solutions – Open Source is seen as a type of collaborative software development methodology
  • It's All Good! Or Is It? ● WE WON!!! – We've earned legitimacy – We've gotten jobs – We've gotten respect – We've gotten everything we wanted... Or Did We?
  • But Are We Forgetting the Heart of FOSS? ● I suggest the Heart of Open Source was never the code itself, but the people – It wasn't primarily a revolution in methodology (although it was that as well), it was a revolution of Geekdom – It was not as much about reinventing software as it was about reinventing US! – Open Source changed the way Geeks saw themselves, and the way the world saw them ● But this lesson is slowly being erased from FOSS...
  • A Brief History of Geekdom ● Geeks Prior to the FOSS revolution: – We were corporate power tools ● Highly talented, highly skilled ● But others did the deciding about what to do and how ● Executed the plans of Product Management ● “Suggest anything you want... but just do what you're told!” ● Little respect, little self-worth, little bargaining power
  • Dawn of Geek Fervor and Passion ● The arrival of FOSS brings about a change in the Geek Mind ● My observations from the 1997 Atlanta Linux Showcase – ~500 geeks (mostly of the fat, white, male variety) on a weekend – Cheap hotel, with all the sugar, fat, and caffeine you could stand (read: Wendy's) – Fire in the eyes and the bellies; true passion and enthusiasm ● It wasn't about “a new model of commercial software development” ● It wasn't even about the “Four Freedoms” (sorry RMS) ● It wasn't about employment (just the opposite) ● It was about self-realization and empowerment
  • Early FOSS: Geeks Unleashed! ● There was no one in the room to say, “No” – Huge step forward in the development of geek power – No longer simply power tools of organizations ● The old corporate restrictions on thoughts and actions were totally gone (e.g., “Mordac the Preventer” from Dilbert) ● Suddenly, Geeks were decision makers ● We did what we thought was right – and the ecosystem would judge if we were right or wrong ● Geeks developed their voice, figuratively and literally – e.g., Miguel de Icaza at Linux Expo in the late 1990s – And me too!
  • Early FOSS: People Centerstage ● The Code: Incredibly important – It is the output of the work ● The Four Freedoms: Highly important – They enabled the movement ● But the People: We were the story! – We learned to think for ourselves – We learned to speak out for ourselves – We learned to write for ourselves – We became empowered in ways that few Geeks before us ever were – This eventually resulted in economic power as well
  • Dreams of “The Brass Ring” ● In the 1990s, few folks had a job working with Open Source – Neither as developers, nor as users – People developed code nights and weekends, on their own time – Getting a job working with Open Source was “the brass ring” ● A dream more than a goal ● People who were paid to work with Open Source were held in awe; they almost had an “aura” around them – But even their positions were tenuous – There were no truly stable Linux vendors
  • Today: The “Brass Ring” Achieved! ● Most Open Source conferences I've attended in the past year have been populated by people paid to create, use, or support Open Source ● Open Source has legitimacy in the marketplace – Few are the scoffers compared to the old days – Even Barad-dûr in Redmond is less ominous than it once was
  • “Brass Ring” or “Brass Handcuffs?” ● But have the jobs left the most important part behind? – Have we sacrificed empowerment for jobs? – Does your job allow you to make Open Source decisions? – Does your job allow you to contribute as you see fit? – Does your job force you to be a corporate voice in Open Source at the cost of your own voice? – Are you once again a Corporate Power Tool, even while working on Open Source?
  • The Rise of “Fake Open Source” ● There's something new in the world: software which has an Open Source license, but NOT an Open Source mindset! – Frequently created the old, closed source way and then thrown over the wall to consumers – No organic community formed – No empowered geeks – Open Source is “just a job” like any other traditional closed source software job
  • Fearful Questions Arise ● Is Success Killing Open Source? – Do the new people understand the history of the movement? – Do they have the passion of their predecessors? – Do they understand what it is to do FOSS as individuals? – Is FOSS “just a job” to the new folks? ● If they lost their job today, would they do FOSS tomorrow? ● When they participate, are they using their own thoughts, or merely parroting the positions of their employers?
  • What I Have Witnessed Recently ● I have been to about a dozen Open Source conferences in the past year ● My cohorts from 10+ years ago are noticeably absent – Open Source today is driven by a new crowd – Many are identified by the corporations they represent ● Enthusiasm seems solid, even if the people are relatively new and most have FOSS-related jobs ● Unfortunately, most seem to only have a sketchy knowledge of FOSS history ● Not sure if they know what it is to work on their own time ● If these people represent “the cream of the crop,” what of the rest?
  • What of the Rest Indeed? ● I've asked people at conferences if they would continue working with FOSS if their job went away, and most have said “Yes” – But a few have said “No” – And people who attend conferences frequently can be far more driven than those who do not attend ● What if these others are just “doing a job?” If their opinion belongs to those paying their paycheck? If they don't really care about Open Source? ● Can these transform Open Source into just another commercial software development model?
  • Open Source Can Lose Its Way! Unless...
  • We Must Teach Empowerment! ● We who care must take it upon ourselves to teach those in our locus of influence ● It's not about lecturing, brow-beating, or criticizing others – It's about informing them about the history, the passion, the purpose – It's about lighting the fire under people; getting them to discover the personal freedom and self-realization of Open Source for themselves – It's about the people; software of the people, by the people, for the people – Start by telling YOUR STORY of Open Source!
  • Your Assignment: Let Others Know ● If the spirit of Open Source is to survive and thrive it takes YOU to get involved and teach what you know – In the world today, the truth is rare – and powerful; speak it! ● It's not academic; it's about letting passion flow out of you – Passion trumps Powerpoint any day! ● If you have a heart for Open Source, share it ● In Open Source, participation is key – Can be developer, user, writer, thinker, noise-maker... – It is about people working with people for the good of people – Stand up!
  • Thank you! I appreciate your time and attention! Russell.Pavlicek@XenProject.org Twitter: @RCPavlicek Do me a favor and visit: http://www.XenProject.org/ And please remember my Xen Project Security talk tomorrow!
  • My Story: How We Got Here ● Observations from my personal perspective
  • One Geek's Open Source Journey ● 1995: Linux meets a simple need for me – and changes everything! ● 1997: My first conference – 1997 Atlanta Linux Showcase ● 1999: Big time at LinuxWorld Conference and Expo ● -2002: The suits take over the party ● 2004: Working for a start-up which was a Open Source consumer ● 2009: Purgatory ● 2013: Redemption: The Xen Project – The key question arises: In an era when many people are paid to work with Open Source, has the heart of the movement been lost?
  • The Beginning: A Unix-like OS ● 1995: Linux was the answer to my need for Unix training – I was a Linux advocate before I ever used the software (somewhat prophetically) – Using it to solve problems brought about my epiphany ● Everyone knew PCs sucked – They could do one thing at a time, and do it badly ● But then I used Linux and it made the PC behave like a “real” operating system ● Epiphany: PCs suck only because the software sucks! ● 1997: Open Source became my passion – See the Atlanta Linux Showcase slide
  • Transition: Legitimacy ...and Suits ● 1999: The first IT Analysts see FOSS in the datacenter's future – Until this, FOSS was seen as “fringe” with no Enterprise future – A huge breakthrough in the struggle for legitimacy – FOSS shows sprout everywhere; LinuxWorld Conference and Expo becomes the mindshare leader ● ~2002: Suits begin to take center stage – It's all about business, “booth babes”, and swag – Suddenly, we are guests at our own party... and we don't know the hosts
  • And Then The Darkness... ● Like many in the movement, I signed on to a startup company working with Open Source – But it didn't produce Open Source (despite efforts to the contrary) – My participation in the community eventually dried up ● After the 2008 banking crisis, the company's runway shrank from 11.5 months to 3 weeks – Assets, including “human-compatible liveware,” (to borrow a phrase from Dilbert) sold to an old-school software company ● A place where FOSS was feared and loathed
  • The Light Once Again Dawns... ● 2013: Xen Project Evangelist – The job I had been searching for over a decade – Citrix pays the bills, but my goals are all Xen Project – Xen Project is the premier FOSS hypervisor ● Used by Amazon, Rackspace (public cloud), Verizon, ... ● 10th anniversary last year ● One year ago, Xen Project became a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project
  • But FOSS World Has Changed! ● Attending the event where Xen Project officially became a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project in April 2013: – The majority of attendees had the “brass ring”: their day jobs involved Open Source – People were often identified by the company they worked for – Much fewer were working nights and weekends on Open Source – Many of my cohorts from 10-15 years ago were noticeably absent ● There's a new crowd taking center stage ● And there's a need to educate them by telling our own Open Source stories