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Why Open Source matters


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I this talk, I explore the importance of open source software beyond the typical arguments of free (cost) in a broader context of how society as a whole can benefit.

Published in: Technology
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Why Open Source matters

  1. 1. Why Open Source Matters Michael Schulz @mschulz
  2. 2. Open Source Software is
  3. 3. … after all, it's free! But wait ... there's more ...
  4. 4. Some definitions ...
  5. 5. Commons
  6. 6. The dictionary A “Commons” is: I. A public pasture ground I. A piece of open land for recreational use in an urban area
  7. 7. Governments as caretakers of various commons.
  8. 8. The provisions of licenses like the GPL, and the community development model that they encourage, create a commons for software.
  9. 9.  an idea at least as old as Aristotle  popularized by Garrett James Hardin, 1915-2003  assumes that the resources of the commons are limited The Tragedy of the Commons
  10. 10. Open Source & Free Software do not have such limitations.
  11. 11. Community
  12. 12. The dictionary A “Community” is: I. A body of people having common rights, privileges, or interests, or living in the same place under the same laws and regulations. II. Of common character, likeness, frequency
  13. 13. The Internet enabled the formation of a new class of communities that could not previously exist.  People with common interests or values  Potentially broadly geographically distributed
  14. 14. The inability to participate in the growing society of Internet-enabled communities is a fundamental problem, often called the “digital divide”
  15. 15. Open Source Software can address this problem.
  16. 16. The behind Open Source Software
  17. 17. The basic idea behind open source is very simple: • When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. • People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. • There will always be more smart people outside of any organization than the organization could employ.
  18. 18. And this can happen at a speed which compared to conventional software development often seems astonishing.
  19. 19. Communities that form around Open Source Software freely share their knowledge with others.
  20. 20. If information is free and open, society as a whole will benefit. People can contribute and share.
  21. 21. People grow through of learning.
  22. 22. “Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.” Aaron Swartz. 1986 - 2013
  23. 23. Open Source Software provides access to real world examples of how technologies can be implemented. How stuff works (and sometimes not).
  24. 24. Just some examples ...
  25. 25. Open Source Software is transparent.
  26. 26. If everybody can look inside, there will be no surprises, no suspicion, no concern. Weaknesses can be identified quickly, which in turn improves security.
  27. 27. Need a job?
  28. 28. As a side effect of people working on Open Source Software, they have something much better than a resume. They can show real world code as example of their skills.
  29. 29. … OK, let's talk about
  30. 30. Open Source Software enables economic growth.
  31. 31. Communities which are less funded can thrive because of Open Source Software.
  32. 32. Instead of spending money outside the community, Open Source Software can enable them to produce needed value inside.
  33. 33. Develop locally needed solutions, with local resources, generate local taxes and save money.
  34. 34. If you can't open it, you don't own it.
  35. 35. Open Source Open Standards
  36. 36. As we as society grow more and more reliable on storing documents in electronic formats, we have a responsibility to keep them accessible for future generations.
  37. 37. Remember? Information needs to be free. But it has nothing to do with beer.
  38. 38. Open Source Software and Open Standards provide sustainable open access to your information.
  39. 39. Open Source Software provides independence.
  40. 40. Open Source Software provides transparency.
  41. 41. Open Source Software provides knowledge.
  42. 42. Open Source Software provides FREEDOM.