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For nearly ten years I have used open source software tools to earn a living. It may have started as the "me" economy, but over the last decade I have become part of the "we" economy. I rely on complete strangers to build me the tools that I use daily; and other complete strangers rely on the work that I do too. I have deployed open source solutions for government agencies, non-profits and for-profit companies. Everyone wants to know, "What's the catch?"
In this 45 minute presentation we'll explore the underbelly of the open source world and address the questions:
* Is it a scam? What about my competitor advantage? Can they steal my password?
* Who uses this stuff anyway? (Hint: everyone in this room is probably using something that was built on open source software.)
* Can serious for-profit businesses (and government) rely on this "free" stuff?
* Who makes this stuff? They can't possibly have a job. They must live in their mother's basement!
FOSS is serious business and it works because people like you pitch in. In the second half of the presentation I'll give you a tour of some of the contributions I've made to the FOSS community (hint: very few of them are programming). I'll wrap up with my 2010 project: The 100 Mile Client Roster. In this project I will be open sourcing my business so that you can do what I do too.*
(* Book deals, international fame, and world travel not guaranteed.)