Open Source and You

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Open Source software can be found everywhere, from WiFi routers to the largest web sites on the Internet. This presentation looks at how it all got started and what it can mean for you.

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  • Stallman wanted to modify the printer's programming to send out notices when print jobs completed or when the printer jammed. Xerox put a license on the software that prohibited him from doing this. Stallman wanted the system to work the way he wanted it to work, not the way Xerox told him it should work. Photo of Richard Stallman is Copyright, Victor Powell. It is used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)
  • The GNU Project is an attempt to write a complete UNIX operating system using nothing but open source software. The Free Software Foundation is the legal foundation for the free software movement. It provides employment for some programmers working on the GNU Project as well as publishing, education and political campaigns in support of free software.
  • One of the core values of the free software movement is the belief that all users should have the freedom to modify a program to suit their needs. The fact that most open source software is free (costs no money) is irrelevant and not a central tenant to the movement. The GNU GPL has other stipulations.
  • The Open Source Initiative ( http://www.opensource.org ) is responsible for defining what Open Source means and reviewing software licenses to determine compatibility with that definition. There are numerous software licenses that comply with the Open Source Definition.
  • Personal observations: - I emailed the author of the 'lsof' program, asking him if he could incorporate an idea I had for the program. The next day, he had made the changes and posted a new version I could download and use. - A user of the Tomboy Note application (sticky notes for your desktop) filed a bug requesting the removal of an annoying confirmation box. I volunteered my time to make the modifications to the program, submitting my changes back to the original developer. After he reviewed the code, my changes were officially incorporated into the program.
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Pro (the full version) costs well over $400 retail. Each individual application (word processor, spreadsheet, slide presentation and email applications) costs over $130 if purchased separately. OpenOffice Suite from Oracle costs under $100. It comes with word processor, spreadsheet, slide presentation, database and drawing applications. OpenOffice.org, the downloadable Open Source edition costs $0. Windows 7 costs anywhere between $200 and $400, retail. Fedora and Ubuntu, 2 popular desktop GNU/Linux operating systems costs $0.
  • Personally, I've spent hundreds of dollars on software that no longer exists. If they were Open Source, I would have the opportunity to keep those programs around for my use.
  • For some proprietary software, the support contract can be priced as a percentage of the initial software price, it can charged on a per-seat or per-incident basis – sometimes all you get is an email address and no guarantee anyone will respond. Open Source software and support services are completely separate.
  • For example, a proprietary software program may not charge to upgrade from 5.0 to 5.1 but may require purchasing all new licenses to go from 5.1 to 6.0. Open Source licenses do not govern support contracts so how upgrades are supported is entirely dependent on the contract itself. The software itself is Open Source. Microsoft's “Patch Tuesday” happens once a month. Open Source patches generally happen as they're fixed. The sooner you're updated, the less time you're exposed to security threats. How long do you want to be vulnerable?
  • http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/04/15/online-shoppers-unknowingly-sold-souls/
  • Open Source and You

    1. 1. Open Source and You Jeff Stoner This presentation is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0. For details, see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/
    2. 2. Who am I? <ul><li>A systems administrator & architect who has been using and developing Open Source software for 10+ years
    3. 3. Red Hat Certified Engineer </li></ul>
    4. 4. In the beginning... <ul><li>It started with Richard Stallman, a programmer at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, and a printer. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Richard Stallman <ul><li>Started the GNU Project in 1983
    6. 6. Established the Free Software Foundation in 1985
    7. 7. Pioneered “open source” with the GNU General Public License (GPL,) the first in a long line of software licenses that grant and protect certain freedoms of both the user and developer. </li></ul>
    8. 8. What is the GNU GPL? <ul><li>It's a software license - no more, no less. </li><ul><li>The “original” Open Source license </li></ul><li>The provisions have been successfully tested in court </li><ul><li>http://www.softwarefreedom.org
    9. 9. http://gpl-violations.org </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. How does the GNU GPL work? <ul><li>Principally, it protects your freedom to modify software while protecting the rights of the original developer.
    11. 11. One of the key provisions requires the unrestricted distribution of a program's source code (the human-readable form of a program) if the binary version of the program is distributed to others.
    12. 12. Example: if I give or sell you a program that is licensed under the GNU GPL, I must make available the source code, too. </li></ul>
    13. 13. What, exactly, is Open Source? <ul><li>A “body of work” that is distributed under the terms of a license that complies with the Open Source Definition, explained at http://www.opensource.org/docs/osd </li></ul>
    14. 14. Open Source definition <ul><li>Free redistribution </li><ul><li>The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. </li></ul><li>Source code </li><ul><li>The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Open Source definition contd <ul><li>Derived Works </li><ul><li>The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software. </li></ul><li>Integrity of the Original Source Code </li><ul><li>The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software. </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Open Source definition contd <ul><li>No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups </li><ul><li>The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons. </li></ul><li>No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor </li><ul><li>The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Open Source definition contd <ul><li>Distribution of License </li><ul><li>The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties. </li></ul><li>License Must Not Be Specific to a Product </li><ul><li>The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution. </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Open Source definition contd <ul><li>License Must Not Restrict Other Software </li><ul><li>The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. </li></ul><li>License Must Be Technology-Neutral </li><ul><li>No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface. </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. What Open Source is Not <ul><li>Shareware </li><ul><li>Proprietary software released on a try-before-you-buy basis </li></ul><li>Freeware </li><ul><li>Proprietary software released free of charge </li></ul><li>Public domain </li><ul><li>By definition, public domain programs can't be licensed or sold </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. How companies make money <ul><li>Selling support contracts
    21. 21. Consulting services to install/modify/manage the software
    22. 22. Selling non-Open Source add-ons or extensions to add functionality </li></ul>
    23. 23. What's in it for me? <ul><li>The ability to change a program to work the way you want/need it to.
    24. 24. Alternatives to many “standard” proprietary software programs. </li><ul><li>In most cases, Open Source alternatives are free (as in price) </li></ul><li>“Perpetual” life for a program.
    25. 25. Buy a support contract/services but only if you need one.
    26. 26. Upgrades and updates </li></ul>
    27. 27. Modification and Influence <ul><li>The ability to change a program to fit your needs is the central tenant of Open Source.
    28. 28. Your changes can be incorporated back into the main project so others can benefit.
    29. 29. If you don't know how to write programs, there are numerous consultants available to hire.
    30. 30. Sometimes, if you just ask, someone will make the changes for you. </li></ul>
    31. 31. “Free” Alternatives <ul><li>Firefox vs Internet Explorer/Safari
    32. 32. OpenOffice.org vs Microsoft Office
    33. 33. Thunderbird vs Outlook
    34. 34. Ubuntu, Fedora (Red Hat), OpenSuse (Novell) vs Windows/MacOS
    35. 35. Gimp vs Photoshop*
    36. 36. Audacity, Blender vs ???
    37. 37. Asterisk (phone software) vs Lucent/Cisco/etc.
    38. 38. The list goes on.... </li></ul>
    39. 39. Perpetual life <ul><li>Ever have a program that didn't work on a newer version of Windows or that just “went away?”
    40. 40. A program that's Open Source means someone can take responsibility to update it and keep it around “forever.” </li></ul>
    41. 41. Support contracts <ul><li>For most proprietary software, support is rolled in to the price or a separate purchase. </li><ul><li>Many consumer products have 90-day installation support which converts to fee-based calls. </li></ul><li>Many companies offer support contracts for various Open Source programs so you'll always have someone to contact for help.
    42. 42. If you don't need a support contract, you pocket the difference. </li></ul>
    43. 43. Upgrades/Updates <ul><li>For a lot of proprietary software, upgrades may or may not be included in the price. Many companies give you “minor” releases for free but “major” releases require separate purchase.
    44. 44. With Open Source, you always get the upgrades (support contracts differ.)
    45. 45. With Open Source, many times you get security updates faster than proprietary software. </li></ul>
    46. 46. What's Next? <ul><li>Educate yourself </li><ul><li>Read your software licenses. After all, you are legally bound to the terms and conditions. </li></ul><li>Go online and search for Open Source alternatives. </li><ul><li>Check out forums and mailing lists – ask around </li></ul></ul>

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