Kids vs. Students Sat, Nov 7. 2009
I stopped using the word "kids" to refer to students for several reasons -- including the fact that I had a student twenty years my senior, and another who was a fully accredited Civil Engineer in his home country -- but the main reason that I dropped it was that it is simply incompatible with the way open source communities work. In open source, roles are defined by contribution, not age or formal training. Some of the youngest members of the community are the most active, and make crucial and valuable contributions.
If we're teaching inside open source communities, then it's important that we value students as full members of those communities -- and I think that the term "kids" is dismissive of their abilities.
Fedora 12 Toronto Release Party Alternative Fri, Nov 6. 2009
Fedora 12 is almost here!
For the past several releases, we've held a release party in Toronto, complete with freshly-burned discs and origami disc covers. This time around, we'd like to invite all Toronto-area Fedora users to instead come out to FUDCon Toronto 2009 (where, in addition to great presentations, discussions, and hack sessions, I'm sure there will be real pressed discs with printed labels and real sleeves!).
Please help us get the word out! Point your friends, colleagues, and neighbours to http://tinyurl.com/fudcon
FSOSS Presentation Slate Wed, Oct 21. 2009
The presentation slate for FSOSS 2009 has been finalized, and it looks like a interesting and diverse line-up including such topics as:
- Apache Qpid (AMQP)
- technical writing and documentation
- Mozilla Dehydra and DXR tools
- open source in South Africa's universities
- communication in open source projects
I'm looking forward to a great conference! If you're within driving distance of Toronto, please consider joining us on October 30. Advance registration -- and the corresponding discount -- ends this weekend as the Toronto Open Source Week gets underway.
The Best Open Source License... Wed, Sep 2. 2009
I have had the honour of informally judging a debate entitled "Which Open Source License is Best?", held this past Monday by the FOSS Learning Center. Unfortunately I could not watch the debate live, so I've had to wait for the videos to be processed and posted - my apologies for the delay.
Each debater made an excellent case for the license they represented:
Michael Milinkovich, Executive Director, Eclipse Foundation - Eclipse Public License (EPL)
Matt Asay, VP Business Development, Alfresco - GNU General Public License (GPL)
David Maxwell, Open Source Strategist, Coverity - Berkeley Software Distibution License (BSD)
I come to this debate not only as an professor, but as a software developer, a consultant to the SME sector, and as a participant in the Fedora project. There was at least one point made in favor of each license that I found notable: that the EPL guarantees perpetual freedom of code, but enables proprietary products to be constructed on top; that the GPL fundamentally creates an atmosphere of trust; and that the BSD license's brevity and simplicity provides reassuring clarity and confidence.
Of the three cases presented, I found the case for the GPL to be the most compelling. I hadn't previously considered that the GPL creates an environment of trust, but that resonated deeply with my experience and particularly with my observations within the Fedora project and as a consultant.
But more importantly, as the debaters concluded: each of these licenses has a place in the Open Source ecosystem, and the users of each license generally agree about much more than they disagree. Long live Open Source!
Debate on Open Source Licences - Today Mon, Aug 31. 2009
FOSSLC has organized an interesting debate today on "Which Open Source License is Best?". Matt Asay, Mike Milinkovich, and David Maxwell are arguing the merits of various licenses and will will be webcast live. Randal Schwartz, Jay Lyman, and I will be judging the debate and blogging our conclusions. I hope you enjoy this lively and informative event.
Professor's Open Source Experience - POSSE - This Week Sat, Jul 18. 2009
The first edition of Red Hat's POSSE program -- Professors' Open Source Summer Experience -- kicks off tonight (Sunday) and continues through Friday. Based on the premise that Open Source is best taught by someone with one foot in the academic world and one foot in an open source community, this week will be an immersive experience for five professors from around North America.
I look forward to teaching this program with my colleague David Humphrey (also from Seneca). It's going to be an intense learning experience for us as well, because we've never passed along our open source teaching model in a bootcamp format.
The brainchild of Greg DeKoenigsberg, POSSE's goal is to pilot a person-to-person approach to spreading the teaching of open community-based open source, and to be the first in a long line of professors' bootcamps around the world.
Working in the Open, in the Open Source Way
We'd love to have you join us online during POSSE. You can follow the play-by-play via @posse2009 on Twitter, or better yet, interact directly with the participants on the #teachingopensource-posse channel on the Freenode IRC network. Because we're teaching community-based open source, you will also see the POSSE participants popping up in various open source projects, including Mozilla and Fedora.
Help Wanted: Fedora Packaging Sponsors
We're going to be doing some Fedora packaging. If you're a Fedora packaging sponsor and have a bit of time later this week to accelerate some FE-NEEDSPONSOR cases, I'd appreciate your help Wednesday onward. Ian Weller (who is himself a packaging sponsor) and I will be working directly with the participants and doing initial reviews.