Open Source: Code Vs Culture
Linux and Open Source have provided an excellent technical solution for platform for development, but looking closely one can find serious cultural change being instigated by the opportunities and meritocracy Open Source presents. Many developing countries are making extremely important progress for their ecnomical situations, their employment, skills, and some are even starting to turn around what is currently an import industry for ICT to an export industry. Many developed countries are slower in recognising the merits of Open Source in respect to their country, but are also jumping on the bandwagon. I'll be exploring several cases and what their impact both economically and culturally are. I'll also look into what the United Nations have been doing with Open Source around the world.
Exploring the difference between Open Source as a codebase and as a culture is important to understanding how to preserve it. Understanding all it provides to its participants is important so that we don't allow cultural or any other restrictions to impede upon what many people in the community take for granted. Open Source provides equal opportunity to all people, crossing cultural, religious, gender, physical, age and political differences. Understanding and protecting this is also important, because Open Source currently offers a chance to many individuals who otherwise might not have one.
There are some serious challenges to Open Source at the moment, including legal, image, patents and integrity amongst others. With many companies becoming involved, the community landscape is changing and the community as a whole needs to define exactly how we want it to be, and then ensure we have the mechanisms to protect it. I'll explore what some companies have been doing to provide legal protection of IP disputes to clients using Linux, and what the developer community should be looking out for.
Pia Smith is completing her 2nd year as president of Linux Australia. In that time she has been to some amazing conferences around the world, and seen just how useful Linux and Open Source can be above and beyond its technical merits. She has presented around Australia, in Brazil, Switzerland and China.