The Zen of Free

Opening Keynote

The Zen of Free
Simon Phipps, Chief Open Source Officer, Sun Microsystems

Main contributor to Gnome, Sun provide a ton of code to many applications without you realising it. But not here to talk about this but rather “The Zen of Free”

Altruism without sacrifice involved in open source community, gathered around an open source commons, the software is the heart of the community. Members use the code to create things in order to achieve a goal, creative wealth of value to you, quite often accomplishing a social goal, the next big thing.

Whilst doing this they innovate as they go along achieving this goal and this innovation creeps into proprietary software, tabbed browsing in IE anyone?

Licensing defines a set of freedoms for software which used to be written by corp lawyers, the problems came when someone wanted to do something different with it, especially as they were all different. So the open source foundation created a new license etc

Open Source is about software without licensing, he disagrees with Tim about them not being required, however as they are so successful they don’t mater so much anymore, but governance is required to make sure that not just anyone can insert code, therefore governance is at the core here in order to allow commit access to the code base.

Easy to see when governance is bad, such as when a community is all from one manufacturer for example

Controlling the community without control, an open governance definition is required

When asked why are there so many desktop and web2.0 apps out there he was recently asked, he’s tried many and some have stuck, which ones stuck, that lock-in is the new lock-out, so in order to stay you better make sure you can import in other formats, like iCal import, but if I cant get it out and move it then I’m not going to stay.

Not interested in inter-operability, substituteability, because I’m a butterfly and like to flit about, you need an open API etc

Freedom promoting formats, protocols and interfaces

Old corp standard he wants to see it smothered in non assert meaning you can be sure you can use it however you like

IETF genius is insisting on multiple implementations, he wants to see them support open source, he wants to see also that there is no preference in implementation

Standard should be created transparently, should be no requirement to just use some standard handed down from the heavens by a big corp and may lock you in to something you don’t realise yet.

The new world is iCal, ODF, RSS, Atom etc, its important that these are at the heat of innovation, we need an open data efinition, the ability to leave etc

  1. Altruism without scarifie
  2. Without lawyers
  3. Communication. Without control
  4. Freedom to leave

Governance required for definition of standards

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