User:James Laverty/FSOSS 14
The Free Software and Open Source Symposium (FSOSS) is an amazing opportunity to learn and explore the open source world. I choose to volunteer as a videographer to fully submerge myself and get the most out of it, because of this I was able to watch five separate presentations as well as introduce myself and meet some of the presenters. The presentations I will be writing about are Creativity with Firefox OS by Regnard Requedan and Twitter Open Source by Chris Aniszczyk.
About the talks
Creativity with Firefox OS
This presentation was more of a creativity workshop rather than a talk, it inspired me to use my imagination to create app ideas, meet the people around me and have a bit of fun. This talk was about encouraging people to use Firefox OS as a creative canvas and outlet to design new and wonderful apps. The main key point in this presentation was that the small things in creativity matter; in basketball only 5% of the baskets scored are slam dunks and in baseball only 10% of all hits batted are home runs, saying that the majority of plays are the small things.
After that he talked about improvisation and how to use it to spark creative collaboration, he put this into effect by giving everyone a piece of paper with a word on it, from there people got into groups and used the words to create app ideas; one group had robot and milk and came up with an idea for a kids learning game where the robot started out frozen and every time you answered correctly the robot thawed and eventually melted into a glass of milk. Regnard has an interesting background, he is a Second City graduate, he works as a UX designer on the side and he is a Mozilla Representative. He believes that Open Source should be open and free to everyone allowing for world wide collaboration and creativity.
Open Source with Twitter
Chris is a wonderful speaker and very insightful. This talk focused mainly on Twitter; their outlook on open source and how they have used it to their advantage to become a flagship social network. His main points were to:
- Use open - When starting something new, try open source programs before 'reinventing the wheel'
- Define secret sauce - Don't open source anything that defines a core business value.
- Assume open - At the end of the day you should assume your code will eventually be open source, use some third party dependencies to prevent pain down the road.
- Default to github - Using social coding tools will lower the barrier and encourage more external development.
- Default to permissive - Use open source licenses like MIT or BSD to increase participation and adoption
- Acquire and Open - When buying companies and such, instead of shelving their old products open source them to improve the community.
- Measure everything - Keep detailed statistics of everything so you will always know where improvement is needed and where it isn't.
- Pay it forward - Support the projects that are important to you.
Chris Aniszczyk has a wide body of experience in open source: he is currently the Engineering Manager of Open Source with Twitter, before that he worked at IBM, Gentoo, RedHat Linux, and he worked on Eclipse. He believes that everything should be shared except the secret sauce of a company.
One of the major points spoken by Chris was to default to GitHub, this is very important, because GitHub is one of the largest open source repositories and allows for massive amounts of contributions worldwide. This thought is seconded by Regnard, Mozilla uses GitHub extensively for their products and as a benefit have many contributors. The subject matter on the surface was vastly different between the two talks, but their fundamental ideas of open source are rather similar. They both believe in open source, that it is a giant benefit to the software industry and a learning experience for everyone involved. They believe that their projects should be open to everyone and by using that concept, it helps encourage people to use, develop, troubleshoot, and strengthen their products. They believe that it strengthens the community and therefore the overall development and advancement of software. A slight deviation in views between the two presenters was that Chris believes that their should be a form of secret sauce to differentiate and hide their core business values and such, to me, this differed from my understanding by hiding a part of your company. Whereas Regnard is of the view that everything should be open to the world and nothing should be hidden.
Open source conclusion
In conclusion, I enjoyed attending and volunteering FSOSS. It was very interesting to listen to all of the talks and very good learning experience. This symposium has changed many of my ideas about open source and the way it interacts with the world as well as the way the world interacts with it. Because of this course my eyes were already beginning to open, but FSOSS really sealed the deal. Before this, I'd never really dabbled with open source, so I always imagined it was an unsafe, unpopular, unused form of software that was filled with millions of bugs and always crashed. After going this event and attending your classes my entire outlook of open source has changed, I now realize that there are many, many people using these programs and therefore finding and fixing most of the bugs. I find this amazing and possibly more secure, because you get the advice and fixes from many sources and backgrounds, which in my opinion reduces the amount of security risks. It has also given me many well developed tools to use to start open source developing myself, my favourite at the moment is brackets.
Do their views affirm or deny your thoughts of open source
After my massive restructuring of ideas about open source, I would have to say that their thoughts tend to align with mine as to what I think open source is. I am looking forward to contributing to the open source community and to making my mark on the world.