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Brad Fitzpatrick

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open source presentation [Oct. 9th, 2005|12:36 am]
Brad Fitzpatrick
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I recently volunteered (somehow) to give a presentation to my coworkers this coming Friday about "open source".

I realized that enough people didn't understand: (in no particular order)

-- the difference between freeware/shareware and Free software
-- the ambiguity of the English word free
-- that FOSS is based on copyright
-- how copyright works, copyright assignments
-- differences between copyright, trademarks, and patents
-- source code vs. binaries
-- the phrases "public domain", "Shared Source", "copyleft"
-- why "source available" isn't freedom
-- how the GPL actually works
-- what "Linux" is (kernel vs. distros)
-- why people use open source: all intersections of freedom, cost, control, eyeballs
-- dual licensing (open/open, open/proprietary)
-- the Open Source Definition, and how many compliant licenses there are (but basically BSD/X-ish vs. GPL)
-- background on oft-heard zealtory/advocacy talking points

I started sketching it all out on a pad of paper and I think I have a general sort of plan to lay it all out without dependency loops. And if I can find all the images that I think I can, it should be visually entertaining too.

The fact that half the audience is non-technical is the best part: I can avoid going into too many details (e.g differences between each license) which would bore both halves.

[User Picture]From: ioerror
2005-10-09 07:49 am (UTC)
That's a large amount to cover. What's your projected time frame? An hour? Three?
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[User Picture]From: brad
2005-10-09 07:53 am (UTC)
45 minutes will probably be pushing people's attention spans unless I do a damn good job or people really don't want to work.

I can talk quick, though. The point isn't to indoctrinate everybody and makes them all experts, but just introduce them to the ideas.
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[User Picture]From: alfur
2005-10-09 07:52 am (UTC)
and you're going to be lovely and put a little linky in here for us to read it too so that we can finally understand all these things too yes? (please?) hee.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2005-10-09 07:53 am (UTC)
I haven't made it yet. :-)
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[User Picture]From: burr86
2005-10-09 07:55 am (UTC)
Neat. If you come up with slides or something, would you be willing to share?
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[User Picture]From: fxl
2005-10-09 04:23 pm (UTC)
I would also be interested in seeing your notes/slides/script,etc.

You should consider publishing them. I know it has all been done before, but many of us out here really should be doing the same thing at our places of work, and your presentation looks like the best overall look at the subject I have seen in a while.
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[User Picture]From: valiskeogh
2005-10-09 08:05 am (UTC)
well isn't all that the POINT of a presentation on open source?

if they knew ALL of that, why would they go to the presentation?
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[User Picture]From: xaosenkosmos
2005-10-09 08:42 am (UTC)
One random interesting tidbit here: ibiblio hosts speakers and then distributes their talk as video and audio. Apparently Larry Lessig (the first speaker) advised* the following speakers to use a CC license instead of releasing them into the Public Domain. He seemed to have some reservations about using PD itself, not with the unbounded release of the materials.

I haven't heard too much about this since: has anybody else run into this? If i'm not GPL'ing code, i'll often use either the LGPL or PD. Since i heard about this discussion, though, i'm a bit leery of using PD myself.

* The materials weren't initially available; when they were to be published, a mail went out to several speakers (Cory, Eblen, Roblimo, and Larry iirc) to get releases and blah blah blah.

Also, i no longer work for ibiblio, so i'm now free to speak about these things. UNC ITS has a rather obnoxious media communications policy, which i am also now free to speak about.
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[User Picture]From: brentdax
2005-10-09 11:17 am (UTC)
There are some legal issues internationally with public domain. Some countries don't have such a thing. Some don't allow you to explicitly release into it. Some have unwaivable "moral rights" (although these cause a ton of trouble for CC licenses too). In reality, though, all of the existing licenses have problems—if you don't believe me, search Google for debian-legal's analysis of the Creative Commons licenses.

My rule of thumb is to just pick the license which is closest to the terms you want and use it; if you're a reasonable person, it won't matter if Fooistan grants you more rights than you really want to have—you'll just choose not to assert them.
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[User Picture]From: shanana
2005-10-09 08:46 am (UTC)
that pretty much just blew my mind. share your wealth of knowledge!!
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[User Picture]From: codetoad
2005-10-09 08:47 am (UTC)
The fact your audience isn't technical also means you've got zero chance of any obnoxious nerds correcting and arguing with you ;)
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[User Picture]From: pne
2005-10-09 12:33 pm (UTC)
Random thought: what's your favourite FOSS licence? (For example, for code you write yourself for fun, where you don't have to consult anyone about how to license it.) X/MIT? BSD? LGPL? GPL? None of the above?

(I tended to use BSD, FWIW, but am considering moving to X/MIT.)
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[User Picture]From: jwz
2005-10-09 01:03 pm (UTC)
I have never heard of "Shared Source" (assuming the capitals are Magic.)

I think all your illustrations should come from lovesraymond.
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[User Picture]From: fxl
2005-10-09 04:28 pm (UTC)
It is a Micro$oft thing, and as such, "Shared Source" is not free.

Microsoft Shared Source Initiative Home Page

A good reason why it is important for someone like Brad to be giving such a talk are companies like MSFT confusing the issue, and the pointy haired bosses with terms like "Shared Source".
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[User Picture]From: ellenlouise
2005-10-09 03:12 pm (UTC)
Are you going to make a PowerPoint presentation, hand out the slide deck, show the slide deck, and read off of it? Those are the best presentations.
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[User Picture]From: joshc
2005-10-09 04:43 pm (UTC)
especially when the handouts have lines next to the slides for taking notes!
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[User Picture]From: d4b
2005-10-09 07:10 pm (UTC)
Please record your presentation; that will be valuable. Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: dakus
2005-10-09 07:38 pm (UTC)
MP3 of this "talk"? Would like to hear it...
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From: jamesd
2005-10-09 08:07 pm (UTC)
Re "Open Source Definition", remember that not all open source follows the OSF definitions. The first open source I was involved with was anti-spam software and it used a basically BSD plus can't resell by spamming license. Not OSF definition (restricts a field of endaevor - spamming) but certainly open source. The license was used successfully to get the software removed from the server of at least one person who was using spam to sell anti-spam software.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2005-10-09 08:11 pm (UTC)
I can bring that up as an anecdote, but I have to side with the OSF here. I wouldn't call it open source if it restricts the ability to spam. Introduces too much gray area (What is spamming? opt-in vs opt-out vs business partners permit us to do this, etc, etc) for too little gain: spammers are unethical and will just steal your software anyway, open or not, so why unnecessarily restrict it when you could just use BSD and be actually open source.
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