Herding Cats: Governance in Free and Open Source SoftwareSameer Verma, Ph.D.ProfessorInformation Systems DepartmentSan Francisco State UniversitySan Francisco, Californiasverma@sfsu.eduhttp://verma.sfsu.eduMarch 19, 2012 - CBMIS ProgramMona School of Business,University of the West Indies, Jamaica
Thou shalt not print – His Stevenness May 2010. The iPad cannot print Cannot print or will not print? Who gets to decide? http://www.macrumors.com/2010/05/10/steve-jobs-says-printing-will-come-for-ipad/
Ingenuity wins! Free and Open Source Software provides the flexibility. How much freedom is too much freedom?
GNU Project GNU = GNUs not Unix recursive acronym Started by Richard M. Stallman in 1985 http://groups.google.com/group/net.unix-wizards/msg/4dadd63a976019d7
Free Software Foundation The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization based in Boston, MA,USA. We rely on support from individuals like you to carry out our worldwide mission to preserve, protect and promote the freedom to use, study,copy, modify, and redistribute computer software,and to defend the rights of all free software users.
GNU General Public License V1 - 1989 V2 - 1991 V3 – 2007 Most widely used FOSS License FSF is the keeper of GPL
What does “Free” mean? Free as in Freedom or Free as in Beer? Free implies “zero cost” Free implies “liberty” or
Stallmans Four Freedoms Freedom 0: The freedom to run the program, for any purpose. Freedom 1: The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs. Freedom 2: The freedom to redistribute copies 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.
Open Source Initiative Created in 1998 to counter the confusion around the term “free”.“Free” is not business friendly. Open Source – simply put, the source code is open. First meeting Eric Raymond, Bruce Perens, Larry Augustin, Jon “maddog” Hall, Christine Peterson, Todd Anderson, Sam Ockman, Michael Tiemann. Christine Peterson suggested “open source”.
The Open Source Definition http://opensource.org/docs/osd1. Free Redistribution2. Source Code3. Derived Works4. Integrity of The Authors Source Code5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor7. Distribution of License8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral
GPL Family - reciprocation GNU General Public License or GPL Lesser GPL, sometimes also referred to as Library GPL GNU Free Documentation License or GFDL Linux kernel is released under GPL version 2
BSD family - academic Sourced from AT&T Unix Heavily modified by UC Berkeley. Therefore called Berkeley Software Distribution. See history at http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/opensources/book/kirkmck.html Gave rise to many Unices, including Solaris, MacOSX, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD etc. Have their own licenses. Android is released under the Apache license
So, which is it? Free/Libré Open Source Software (FLOSS) Free Software (FS) Open Source Software (OSS) Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Varies by geography Used interchangeably What really matters is the license!
Licenses Complete list of FSF licenses http://www.fsf.org/licensing/education Complete list of OSI Licenses http://opensource.org/licenses/category
Creative Commons Creative Commons is analogous to FOSS except that they create licenses for content and not code. http://creativecommons.org/ Listen to this (a capella): http://ccmixter.org/files/anjibee/19299 Then listen to this (nicely remixed under a CC license): http://ccmixter.org/files/hepepe/20997 Creativity grows and flows when allowed to mingle.
FOSS: Use anywhere Linux Unix Mac Source code Windows Object code … ... OS Platform
Who uses FOSS Google, HP, Intel, Oracle, IBM, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Internet Archive...and yes, Apple and Microsoft as well! http://www.techdigest.tv/steve-ballmer-hands.jpg
Example: Debian Ian Murdock = Founder of Debian Deborah = Ians girlfriend (now wife) Deb + Ian = Debian Now managed by a non-profit foundation Elects president via elections (democracy). Values technical contributions above all else. Limited bureaucracy is more enabling than coercive
Example: Ubuntu A project by Mark Shuttleworth, a Debian developer turned rich guy from South Africa. Ubuntu = Humanity towards others. Ubuntu is managed by community council, technical board and SABDFL Mark Shuttleworth is SABDFL Self-Appointed Benevolent Dictator for Life. Meritocracy
Governance Models?No traditional models, but governance does exist. Governance is ad-hoc.