User:Rafid Daoud/FSOSS 14

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Free Software and Open Source Symposium 2014 at Seneca Report


Free Software and Open Source Symposium, FSOSS for short, is an annual conference at Seneca College. This year’s conference presented how open source is being used around the world to enhance different sectors of industry like hardware, education and of course software. Attendees include educators, developers, businessmen and students, where they are exposed to the use of open source and the various people that are part of its community. Speakers from all over the world came out and presented at FSOSS which opens a great door for interactive and educational discussions throughout the conference. The discussions covered a wide variety of topics including open web development, using open source in varying levels of education, copyright, enterprise applications, economic practices and global connectivity using open source technology.


This year I had the chance to volunteer at FSOSS. I was able to be there for the length of two days duration of the conference. I was a videographer, where I had to record the sessions that occur throughout the day. Through FSOSS I met Dan Hodge from Red Hat who works as senior solutions architect in middleware, he told me about his position at the company and the opportunities available at the company such as internships and co-op work terms. I got the chance in being part of several talks. In addition, I got to attend the all the keynote speakers’ presentations. I attended:

  • 64-bit ARM
  • Mozilla Intellego – Terminology – driven automatic translation of the web sites
  • FSOSS and Academics: A Perspective from Pune, India
  • Ubiquitous System Analysis with Performance Co-Pilot
  • AMD Open Source GPU Drivers
  • Creativity with Firefox OS
  • Cloud Computing Infrastructure: Introduction with OpenStack

In this report I will go through a summary of Mozilla Intellego and Creativity with Firefox OS, then providing some of my analysis about the speakers’ views on open source.

Mozilla Intellego – Terminology – driven automatic translation of the web sites

Speaker: Mekki MacAulay Mekki MacAulay is a renaissance engineer who researches and teaches in entrepreneurship strategy, open source, innovation and management.

The main problem is that there is a cultural barrier on the internet since English is the predominant language. Reducing this barrier is important to get more people connected to the world. The current machine translation system by google is dominated by proprietary, closed system. This includes their code base, their data collection processes and public accessibility to their language resources. Moreover, the open MT ecosystem suffers from being unable to reach the vast majority of participants on the web through web through web services or APIs. Google’s ability to provide users with automatic translations of the web content using Google Translate which in turn attracts global users to Google Chrome browser. Intellego aims to be to Firefox what Google Translate is to Chrome by powering the automatic translation feature within the browser.

Creativity with Firefox OS

Speaker: Regnard Raquedan Regnard is a representative from Mozilla; he is an informational architect and a user experience designer.

This presentation was based around the new Firefox OS. It was a highly interactive session that simulated creativity and sparked the interest of the attendees. Regnard had made many analogies and comparisons to support his main point which was to “think about homeruns and slam-dunks in your domain”. In other words, he was comparing the fact that there is a slim chance of a dunk happening in a basketball game or a slim chance of a homerun at a baseball game, even though the people playing the game are trained professionals. One must try and go for these chances because that is what brings out creativity within. To further demonstrate his point to the attendees, there were two activities. The first was “The Big YES!” where someone would say a random sentence and their partner would yell out yes! This helps encourage building projects and working together as a part of a team while trying out different approaches to developing a project. The second was “Mobile Mash-up” where attendees were paired up and passed two words each on a separate piece of paper. The objective was to take these two words and create a mobile app idea which includes these words. For example, a group had the words “Knuckle” and “Jeans”, their idea was to make a music app, the phone would be in your “jeans” pocket and when you want to skip to the next song you would use your “knuckles” to knock on your phone to do so. All this built up and set the stage for him to introduce Firefox OS. He highlighted how the OS functions and what frameworks and engines are used, like Gaia, Gonk and Gecko. Also, some of the key benefits of the OS which are web standards, privacy and privilege management, affordable for target users (entry level) and it is very easy to develop for.

Analysis and Comparison

Since both speakers are related to Mozilla, I could see more similarities in the presentation rather than any differences. Both speakers had a similar view of open source, which is that open source can be powerful to help improve the experience of the internet in turn helping more people come online and joining the world wide web. Firefox OS and Intellego are both still in their early years just starting out, through the presentation it seems that the numbers of people contributing to these projects are growing, therefore, the end goal of these project could be reached faster. Their goal may seem too far, but through the open source community this should not be a problem due to the increasing size of the open source community allowing for rapid development.


The Free Software and Open Source Symposium has been an eye opening experience for me. It has defiantly changed my view on open source. I had many doubts about open sourcing code and software, more specifically the financials of the companies and how they handled their property. As I had attended FSOSS, I am realizing that more and more companies are opening their code and allowing open source work to create better software for everyone. This includes big companies like Facebook and Twitter. It was shocking to me that many companies of the various industries rely heavily on open source. This is was my first experience with open source and I can say that I have learned a lot already and I don’t think it ends there, there is a whole world to be explored out there.