Brussels / 30 & 31 January 2016


Open Source is being ruined and it’s all our fault

How we both help and hurt ourselves in open source and figure out how to ensure the best possible outcome.

From the zealots of the past to the entrepreneurs of today open source has changed how businesses, non-profits, and individuals run software. Over the past 10 years this has expanded into the realm of hardware both in design and manufacturing. In this talk we analyze how we both help and hurt ourselves and figure out how to ensure the best possible outcome.

Free / Libre Software (aka “Open Source”) has become a functional necessity of most 21st century businesses. The promise of “free” software has lead to rapid adoption of new technology and revolutionized past development processes and spurred entirely new models of businesses. The reality is that open source “realpolitik” is now the norm leaving much of the founding ideologies in the past.

Do businesses care about these ideological concerns? Are they used as a marketing/recruiting tool? Can/should the enterprise crowd take a stance on these issues? The focus becomes blurred as one compares software and hardware focused companies.

In this talk we analyze how “Open Source” businesses make money, how they benefit their users, and look at the pragmatic challenges ubiquitous to libre software, open hardware, and selling “support” as a model. In an audience friendly to open source we should be able to look in the mirror and ensure that we aren’t hurting ourselves, our businesses in the pursuit of making a living with the projects we love with the goal being to provide the audience with the insight and information to ask tough questions of each other and be prepared to be happy with the discussion as much as the outcome.


Photo of Brian 'redbeard' Harrington Brian 'redbeard' Harrington