Open Source for an Open World
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Open Source for an Open World






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Open Source for an Open World Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Open Source Software in an Open World
      • Elizabeth B. Thomsen
      • Member Services Manager
      • North of Boston Library Exchange
      • [email_address]
  • 2. Hello, World!
    • 10 PRINT “Hello World!”
    • 20 END
    • Software is easy!
  • 3. “Software is hard.” Donald Knuth “The Art of Computer Programming” 1962
  • 4.
    • “Why can’t we design software the way we build bridges?”
  • 5. The Impossibility of Complete Testing
    • We can’t test all the inputs to the program.
    • We can’t test all the combinations of inputs to the program.
    • We can’t test all the paths through the program.
  • 6. (More Impossibility)
    • We can’t test for all of the other potential failures, such as those caused by user interface design errors or incomplete requirements analyses.
    • (Cem Kaner, author of ‘Bad Software”)
  • 7. User Error
    • Foolproof programs?
    • “It’s impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious”
    • “We thought it was foolproof but then along came another fool.”
    • Software is designed for people
  • 8. SongTapper
    • Tap a song for a partner – can they guess what it is?
    • (
  • 9. Curse of Knowledge
    • Elizabeth Newton’s song-tapping experiment:
    • Predicted guessing rate: 50%
    • Correct guessing rate: 3%
  • 10. Communication Problems
    • Between all parties
    • At all levels
    • At all phases of the process
    • Include communication errors in programming
  • 11. Troubleshooting Trouble
    • Eyewitness accounts notoriously unreliable
    • The human brain isn’t a recording device
    • In normal use, you have no idea what exactly you did just before that bad thing happened
  • 12. What Does This Mean?
    • Lots of bugs hiding under unintended user behavior
    • Lots of legitimate bugs are dismissed as user error (even by users)
    • Design flaws are not bugs, but might as well be
  • 13. Brooks’s Law
    • “ Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later”
    • “ The Mythical Man-Month” Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. (1975)
  • 14. According to Brooks…
    • Each new member of a team must be brought up to speed and adds to the communication and coordination burden
    • “The bearing of a child takes nine months, no matter how many women are assigned to a task.”
    • Logical conclusion: ideal size of team=1
  • 15. A Different Approach…
    • Collaborative projects of developed and supported by self-organizing communities of interest
    • Transcend geography, time zones
    • Roles based on participation, contribution and trust, not formal credentials
  • 16. Pyramid of Participation
    • Casual observer
    • Occasional contributor
    • Core Contributor
    • Moderator / Module Owner / Administrator
    • Board Member
    • Benevolent Dictator
  • 17. Self-Organizing Communities
    • Self-organizing doesn’t mean disorganized
    • Participants seek and find roles that are appropriate to their talents, interests and personal needs
    • Participants earn their place in the community
  • 18. Motivation and Compensation
    • People do things for all kinds of reasons
    • Intrinsic rewards are more motivating than extrinsic rewards
    • Altruism, personal satisfaction, prove and improve skills, cooperation/competition, future reward, social interaction
    • Be part of something
  • 19. Collaborative Communities
    • Have always existed in some form…
    • But the Internet transformed the way people can engage in discussion and collaborative projects
  • 20. Active Communities
    • Health and disability support groups
    • Political activity
    • Fan communities
    • “ Survivor” spoilers
    • Wikipedia : open source encyclopedia
    • (truly collaborative rather than collective)
  • 21. Economic Impact
    • Fewer people watching televisions, especially in the 18-34 demographic
    • Fewer people reading newspapers
    • Consumer ratings, reviews, blog postings sometimes more powerful than advertising
    • (Example : blogging foodies)
  • 22. Free/Open Source Software
    • Grew out of the old hacker culture of the 1960’s and 1970’s
    • Students working on UNIX systems; minicomputers
    • Computers club culture around the Altair and other early hobby computers
  • 23. Bill Gates’ Open Letter 1976
    • Sent to the Homebrew Computer Club complaining about unauthorized copying of Altair BASIC:
    • “ you…prevent good software from being written. Who can afford to do professional work for nothing?”
  • 24. Free Software
    • Free Software Foundation (1985)
    • “ Think of free speech, not free beer”
    • GNU Project : full operating system
    • Linus Torvald’s Linux provided the kernel
  • 25. Four Freedoms
    • Freedom 0 : The freedom to run the program for any purpose
    • Freedom 1 : The freedom to study and modify the program
  • 26.
    • Freedom 2 : The freedom to improve the program so you can help your neighbor
    • Freedom 3: The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits
  • 27. Source Code Access
    • Freedoms 1 (study/modify) and 3 (improve/release) are only possible with the source code
    • Source code invaluable as a learning tool, but also for security and for improvement
    • Academic tradition: release research
    • Rapid evolution
  • 28. Open Source Movement
    • 1998: Netscape’s release of Navigator source code as Mozilla
    • Possibly confusion and political emphasis of “free software” terminology
    • Some disputed areas between groups, much common ground in principle and practice
  • 29. “The Cathedral & the Bazaar”
    • Eric S. Raymond, 1997
    • Contrasts building of cathedrals (highly centralized) and bazaar “a great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches”
  • 30. Open Source Approaches
    • Users should be treated as co-developers
    • Early releases (find co-developers early)
    • Frequents integration (often nightly builds)
    • At least two versions (development/stable)
    • Modularization (parallel development)
    • Dynamic decision-making structure
  • 31.
    • Richard
    • Stallman
  • 32.
    • Linus Torvalds
  • 33.
    • Eric Raymond
    “ Everybody Love Eric Raymond” http:// geekz .co. uk / lovesraymond /
  • 34. Business and Open Source
    • Open source is not incompatible with business
    • IBM, Sun and other businesses have chosen to participate in open source projects, donating both existing software and programmers
    • Choose to build their applications on top of open source bases software like Apache
  • 35. New Business Opportunities
    • Businesses charge for installation, customization and support of open source products
    • Businesses develop value-added compatible software products
  • 36. Complex Legal Issues
    • Open source coming of age
    • Microsoft asserting patent infringements and making settlement offers with Novell and others
    • GPL3: Patent pledge to Novell extends to all Linux
  • 37. Libraries and Open Source
    • Open Source Software: Freedom to read?
    • Community-based software: Compatible with public and educational institution philosophies : resource sharing, examination and evaluation of sources
    • May provide longterm stability
  • 38. Workstation Level
    • Open source operating systems now ready for prime time
    • Library patrons becoming familiar with the concept of open source software; may appreciate savings
    • Introduction of Vista a time for re-evaluation
  • 39. Open Source Library Systems
    • Georgia Pines system using Evergreen brought major attention to Open Source as a viable option even for a very large library system
    • Instability in the ILS market makes this a good time to re-evaluate options
    • Competition and choice from outside likely to be good for the ILS vendors and for customers
  • 40. My Prediction
    • The next two years are going to be very interesting.
    • So is the rest of today
    • Enjoy!
  • 41. Elizabeth B. Thomsen
      • Member Services Manager
      • NOBLE: North of Boston Library Exchange
      • [email_address]