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Spring 2011 MSPC 3050 Open Source Final Project
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Spring 2011 MSPC 3050 Open Source Final Project


Final Presentation Project for Social Media and Marketing Communication class. Since we could do the final project on anything we wanted, I decided to do mine of the origins, philosophy, and why open …

Final Presentation Project for Social Media and Marketing Communication class. Since we could do the final project on anything we wanted, I decided to do mine of the origins, philosophy, and why open source technology is important. My main point is that open source software drives innovation and that we should appreciate it because tools like Twitter, Facebook, and such would not be possible without it.

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  • YouTube Video: Windows v Mac v LinuxHello, everyone before I start my presentation. I want to show a short video for you to get a sense of what I will be talking about.
  • Intro: Hello everyone, my final project is on Open Source Software. Over the years, I have developed an appreciation for Open Source partly because I am cheap and also I like learning about new programs. Before, I get started let me explain a bit about the video I just showed you. That was a Novell commercial from 4 years ago so it is a bit outdated but the concept is still relevant. The whole joke is that the people are personifications of three of the most popular operating systems Windows, Macs, and Linux. Novell is an open source company so they push for Linux. Windows OS tend to stay stagnant and dull until next release. Macs are visually interesting but don’t update as often. Linux because it is an open source operating system can be updated regularly without much hassle. My presentation is going to be all about open source software, what it is about, why it is important, and what it has to do with the groundswell.
  • What is open source?
  • Is a unique way to create software through sharing and caring instead of keeping the code to yourself.
  • In other words…
  • These are the 10 standards created by the Open Source Initiative that open source software must meet in order to considered open source. The key points are “seeing the source code”, no limitations on who can use and what for.
  • This graph is actually for the popularity of OS for March 2011. As you can see, proprietary OS Windows and Mac dominate while Linux has a very small minority.
  • On the other hand, when you look at software applications on proprietary OS. This graph is for 2011 by the way. You can see that there is a shift towards open source when it comes to programs. The slices that are pull out are open source ones. What these two graphs illustrate is that while most people are comfortable with their OS, but when it comes to alternative programs like web browsers people are willing to give open source a chance.
  • Perhaps a better way to explain it is through this chart I created. The right are all programs you all should be familiar with because they come with Macs or Windows. Proprietary means that you cannot see the source code nor can you change it with out violating US copyright law. The left side is the opposite case. All these programs are free, open source alternatives to the ones on the right.
  • These programs would have never be what they are today if it wasn’t for Richard Stallman. In 1985, he created an alternative operating system called GNU (Gnu’s not Unix) as well as the GNU Manifesto. He created the legal and software infrastructure that made open source projects possible. At the times, his ideas were very radical and it resulted in an angry letter from Bill Gates.
  • Bill Gates in response to Stallman’s GNU Manifesto wrote an open letter to all code hobbyist and hackers. I highlighted the most important parts of the letter in red but the main point of it was that he was upset that he was losing money over a piece of software because hobbyists were “stealing software” or sharing instead of buying. Gates goes on to question their work by asking “Who can afford to do professional work for nothing?” You will get the hear about the exciting conclusion of this fight and the fate of open source at the end of my presentation.
  • So, I thought it would be useful for everyone if I explained some terms that often get confused with open source. I didn’t know this before my presentation but Freeware/Free Software are two completely different things. Freeware is all about getting the program legally and free but to get the rest of the features unlocked you have to pay. While Free Software comes with everything included as well as the ability to modify and share with your friends. Their sense of the word free (in addition to no cost) is for the user to do whatever they want with the program for whatever reason.FOSS is a combination of both Free and Open Source Software and it combines the best of both worlds with legal protection for the original creator and the modifier. This concept and term has become more popular. You will probably see this a lot more.
  • So how does the process of creating open source work? There are many ways to go about this but the main reason people create the program is to fix an existing problem or need for themselves. Open Source allows people to create their own program and source code as well as modify an existing one. For some people, they post the barebones of a software on their website or on a community like sourceforge or google code along side with the source code. People look at the code and those who are interested can fix it or add to it. Participating doesn’t always require extensive coding experience but it can be as simple as sending bug reports, suggesting improvements, documenting how the software works in different scenarios, and spreading the word about the program. If your software is popular enough, people will become experts at it and develop their own communities, forums, and wikis. The key is to keep the software relevant and don’t bite the hand that feeds by ignoring your followers. This process takes a lot of time, commitment, and there is no guarantee that there will be any monetary compensation.
  • So who uses open source? They aren’t just computer geeks with a lot of time, dedication, and interest on their hands.
  • Organizations uses them too and for a lot of reasons. Many times it is because they lack money (Russia, Brazil, and Non Profits), other times it is because they can modify the software to fit their needs (DoD, and for others it fits their organizations’ philosophy (Norway, Sunlight Foundation, and TTC.)I actually did a research paper when I was senior on how non-profits like TTC create open source tools for oppressed people to fight against censorship and technical barriers. Corporations love open source because it allows to them exploit the functionality of a software to make even more money.
  • What I like most about open source software is that it can be cross platform which mean that it can be used and designed to be used on any operating system. None of this weird, format problems like I need a Quicktime player to play quicktime movies. Open source prides itself on its community and transparency. If something goes wrong, there are always people you can ask. It is always possible to research your own problems because I hate calling tech support.
  • Perhaps, some of the biggest problems with open source software is that it involves a different mindset and set of knowledge which can spurn some people thinking that open source is elitist and that it is hard to use. Open source software have costs in a different way. It takes time, experience, and experimentation to get familiar with these programs. Support for some programs vary depending on the program. One of the biggest problem that open source faces is fragmentation because of wide availability of the source code and the different versions. This mean that there is no read standard. Google is facing this problem now with the upgraded version of the Android OS. Google had to step it’s foot down due to possible hardware problems, profitability, and business partners.
  • The whole concept of open source programs and communities is the groundswell. It all started because a software company refused to listen to a customer about a problem with their product. Any normal person would have vented online about their terrible experience but what is unique about this community is that the customer had the technical expertise to fix the problem or create their own software. Instead of selling the improved software, these coders decided to share it. Letting other people play around with it and once they noticed problems, they fixed it and the cycle continued to create a community of experts, coders, and users all working together to improve a piece of software. With the community, they decided to create an alternative system to promote their ideals of transparency, freedom and individual rights. From this system, we have the basis for all the social media technologies that we take for granted. All the tools we talked about in class would not be possible if it wasn’t for open source programs.
  • The concept of the groundswells shares a lot of characteristics with open source software. In the end it is about the empowerment of the consumer by giving them more choices to do what they want, when they want, and whatever they want in their niches. Open source communities and the authors of the groundswell recognizes that the ability to share and remix are the steps that eventually leads to innovation. Companies and organizations cannot stop the groundswell nor can they stop the proliferation and popularity of open source programs.
  • So Open Source is alive and strong. It is due to get even stronger and people become more aware about who owns the software that is vital to your future. I’m not advocating to get rid of proprietary software but I think that these things can coexist. Microsoft is even afraid so now they must cooperate. Next, will be hardware.


  • 1.
  • 2. Open Source
    Spring 2011 MSPC 3050
    Social Media and Marketing Communication
    Final Project Presentation
  • 3. What is Open Source?
  • 4. “Open source is a development method for software that harnesses
    the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process.
    The promise of open source is better quality, higher reliability,
    more flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in.”
    Source: http://www.opensource.org/
  • 5. In other words…
  • 6. Open Source is…
    Source: http://opensource.org/docs/osd
    For everyone including businesses to use
    Easy Distribution of License
    Seeing the Source Code
    Maintaining and Respecting Integrity of The Author's Source Code
    Must Not Be Specific to a Product
    Must Be Technology-Neutral
    Must Not Restrict Other Kinds of Software
    No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
  • 7. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_operating_systems#cite_note-3
  • 8. Source: http://www.netmarketshare.com/report.aspx?qprid=0&qptimeframe=M&qpsp=146
  • 9.
  • 10. Created the legal and software
    infrastructure that made open source
    projects like Linux possible
    It all started with this guy.
    "free software is free
    as in speech, not as in beer."
    Which resulted in
    a letter from…
    Richard Stallman
    Source: http://onlamp.com/pub/a/onlamp/2005/09/15/what-is-opensource.html?page=2
  • 11. The value of the computer time
    we have used exceeds $40,000.
    The amount of royalties we have received from
    the sales to hobbyists makes the time spent of
    Altair BASIC worth less than $2 an hour.
    …most of you steal your software.
    Who can afford to do professional work for nothing?
    Source: http://www.digibarn.com/collections/newsletters/homebrew/V2_01/gatesletter.html
  • 12. Free and Open Source
    Software (FOSS)
    Free in price and
    “freer” if you pay
    for the upgrade
    Free to use, remix,
    share and change with
    no legal ramifications
    30 Day Trial
    Free to use, remix,
    share, and change
  • 13. How does it work?
    1) Find a problem or need
    2) Create a source code
    or modify existing code
    3) Join a community,
    collaborate, and share
    4) Keep Participating
    and Updating
    Source: http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=187202790
  • 14. So…Who uses it?
  • 15. Source: http://www.informationweek.com/news/187202790?pgno=2
  • 16. Cross platform
    Community Based
    Merit Based
    No Financial
    Sources: http://opensourceforamerica.org/learn-more/benefits
  • 17. No Centerpoint
    from Users
    Catching up
    Quality Control
    Source: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_15/b4223041200216_page_2.htm
  • 18. How does it relates to the groundswell?
  • 19. Self-organized
    Use, Modify, Share, Remix
    Continuous Improvement
    Supports Niches
    Freedom of Choice
  • 20. Future?
  • 21.
  • 22. References
    Social Bookmarking Site
    MSPC 3050 Class Blog
    Lerner, Josh and Jean Tirole. “Economic Perspectives on Open Source.” Perspectives on Open Source. Ed. Joseph Feller.
    Woods, Dan. “What is Open Source.” O’Reilly on Lamp.com. 2005. <http://onlamp.com/pub/a/onlamp/2005/09/15/what-is-opensource.html?page=1>