Summarising of two presentations during FSOSS:
During study week 2011 which was at the end of the month of October Seneca hosted an event called FSOSS also known as Free Software and Open Source Symposium. What this event has to offer is workshops and presentations about different kinds of open source projects. To attend this event, one has to register online and pay a fee or volunteer at the event. During the three days that it is happening at Seneca many students, faculty, or anyone interested in open source projects attend the presentations to learn something new or to gain more knowledge about a specific topic.
I attended a few talks during this days to learn what others think about open source and what it is in their opinion. The talks I will be discussing are "Opening an open-source business", and "Develop a processing.js game".
Mike Hoye was the first talk I was in, his topic was Opening an open-source business. However, he didn’t talk much about his business or how he started it, but rather talked about free software and open source software and the idea of open source. But before he started talking about open source in general he touched a little on his own business he created which was the beSDS software and berrySync. Hoye didn’t go into detail about the business, he just talked about struggling with starting the company it self and financial problem with his wife as he was building the software. Then he started discussing open source.
Mike Hoye view of open source software is that it is a small team connected by an idea. And to make the models of the software there is no rules, no barriers, and no gatekeepers. Another asset is having issue tracking and source code management that can be helped by anyone in the open source community. What he also said was what all open source project leaders think, and it is to as many versions of a program to market right away without waiting for the whole thing to work well. he also says a programmer has to know how to say "no", not only for maintaining focus but also not make the software unbelievably so huge it won't work at all. Mike Hoye believes that one has to make 10% of an idea work really well and market it as the first version of the program and later on add to it. He says one problem that he had when he made his company is late marketing and he doesn’t want anyone else to have that problem. Another thing he believes about is if you can find existing code use it. Don’t have to re-invent the wheel every time. The process he believes one should take while building open source software is not coding first. One has to do lots of research about the problem and find out if it doesn not exist, then ask yourself "what if the solution is not made what will happen then?", check if you should spend money on the solution, and only after all this is done one should start coding the problem. The reason he likes open source as a whole is because it's cheap and that all you need to start is a credit card, and a laptop. Mike Hoye main point of the presentation was build smart, and quick.
The second presentation I have attended was "Developing a game in processsing.js" by Dawn Mercer, Jeremy Friedberg, Daniel Hodgin, and David Perit. They presented a game they created about DNA of dragons and the focus of the game is what would happen if two dragons will reproduce with each other. The game was created to educate users in high school on how DNA works and what traits will be more dominated and show up in later generations of dragons. The game was created in processing.js/java script this means when running the game on the web no plug-ins are required and therefore can be played by anyone even on mobile since flash is not involved. They will distribute the game even though it's not perfect yet and features will be added later on. What they believe is useful about open source is that they can file bugs and others can come and help them with a fix. Also there is an IRC channel where the open source community can chat about the fix's and help each other out. The main point of this presentation was that people should communicate more and share bugs so fixes can be completed and making the software better.
The two presentations view point of open source was pretty much similar. They both believe filing bugs, sharing knowledge through IRC chat, market the product quickly is very important. What I figured out form the presentations about open source software is that if you don’t make many versions of the software and get it out as soon as possible the program won't be done well since it would be harder to fix since more things will be connected to each other. What makes many distributions helpful is that the software community can help fix or advise solutions on how to fix or go around problems that they encountered before. Since the community will help fix bugs right away the program will be very well done as it will increase in progress. And if the program is not something that will be needed I'm sure the community will not waste their time working on the fixes for that software and one will know that their software is not something that should not be continued to be worked on.
What I think is a good thing about open source is that one can make software from other software code, there is a community that helps each other to accomplish problems on IRC, and that if one files bugs other people will help you fix it. This is very beneficial to make your software really well done. Corporate software are not the same. They try to make a good software that works and try to make the complete program before distribution. If there is a bug the company will get only email that there is a bug they should fix. However, no one will help the corporation to fix that bug only their own programmers. And this is because the source code is not open for all to see. Another think I like open source software is that when one gets the code they can do anything with it, even sell the software if the licence lets you do so.
What was presented in the presentations and what was taught in class about open source is very similar. All this just confirms that what is learnt in class and what other in the community believe about open source is that it is source that is free to use and modify as one will want to, as long as at the end the software that one creates is still open source and continues in the process of being open source software circulating around the community.
In conclusion, FSOSS has not changed my views on open source and it just helped me get to know slightly more about how open source works and what the community is all about.