Geekzone: technology news, blogs, forums
Guest
Welcome Guest.
You haven't logged in yet. If you don't have an account you can register now.
Ten lessons from Open Source Open Society 2015
Posted on 20-Apr-2015 10:30 by Bill Bennett. | Tags Filed under: News.


Few conferences range as wide as the Open Source Open Society 2015 event held in Wellington last week. The material was surprisingly accessible to non-specialists considering this was a two-day event that filled the Michael Fowler Centre with software developers.

Dance between freedom and responsibility
Artists painted slogans and images over the glasswork around the Michael Fowler Centre

You can read more in-depth stories about #OSOS2015 sessions elsewhere, here are ten lessons that don’t fit into the conventional story structure:

1. Modern tech innovation follows the same path as the textile industry at the start of the industrial revolution in Britain


“Join me in the C18th to remind ourselves about some of the things that haven’t gone so well”

In a talk explaining why the idea of a commons exists, Craig Ambrose from Enspiral Craftworks traced the history of the weaving industry. He says the inventors used patents as instruments of control as well as a way to earn money.

Things didn’t go too well for society in the wake of the industrial revolution. The message from Ambrose is that if you want to understand what a lack of openness might mean today, take a look at the consequences two hundred years ago. He did this with mentioning the word Dickensian, so I’ll just leave it here for you.

2. Good open source is like a marae

Chris Cormack - Catalyst IT
Chris Cormack – Catalyst IT

Chris Cormack draws parallels between the ideas of open source and his Maori culture. He says negotiations take a long time in that culture because Maori believe listening to what others say is as important as telling them what you want. He says you don’t have to agree with what they say, but you do have to respect it.  

3. “When we nurture the commons together we all win”

OSOS conference
Billy Meinke – Creative Commons

Billy Meinke from Hawaii says there’s power in the idea of a commons, but it’s increasingly hard to get the gains because of patents and copyright laws. He says that needs changing.

4. Moving away from patents put the US motor on its growth trajectory

Brandon Keepers - GitHub
Brandon Keepers – GitHub

GitHub’s Brandon Keepers calls it the auto-industry, but we know what he meant. Things didn’t take off until car makers ignored existing patents, once that happened there was no stopping the likes of Henry Ford.

It’s a powerful argument against software patents and other brakes on innovation. Keepers’ says Henry Ford and others built the giant US car industry on openness. The same idea could see technology reach even greater heights.

 

5. As is so often the case at a conference, some of the best sessions weren’t scheduled sessions.

Open Source Open Society 2015 did a great job of recognising participant interaction and discussion can be every bit as powerful as speakers on a stage. The messages painted on the walls were part of this, so was the innovative idea of embedding Massey University students to listen and report conversations, comments and so on in the #overheard at #OSOS2015 by @cocamassey thread.

#Overheard
#Overheard

6. The word open doesn’t necessarily make participation easy

Lillian Grace - Wiki New Zealand
Lillian Grace – Wiki New Zealand

Lillian Grace from Wiki New Zealand stood on stage to point out something many feel: The open source world is intimidation to many people on the outside. She poses a challenge to make it more understandable and to learn to talk in the language of ordinary people.

7. New Zealand’s government is one of the most open

Keith Booth - NZ Open Government Data Programme
Keitha Booth – NZ Open Government Data Programme

Keitha Booth from the NZ Open Government Data Programme says we often hear that closed is the default position for government data, but she says that’s not right: it’s open.  New Zealand rates as number four out of 86 countries when measured on openness.  

8. “If open source is for everyone, it should look like anyone”

Jessica Lord - GitHub
Jessica Lord – GitHub

GitHub’s Jessica Lord came up with the defining quote of the two-day conference.

9. Open source culture isn’t all sweetness and light

Chris Kelly - GitHub
Chris Kelly – GitHub

There’s a dark underside to open source culture. Chris Kelly from GitHub says because anyone can take part in open source, the door is open to assholes (he’s American, I’d prefer to say arseholes). That includes bullying white men with a sense of entitlement. Things often end up argumentative.

He says this culture can frighten off outsiders, only a few women coders work in open source and the movement is missing out on the benefits of diversity. There’s a clear need to deal with this and to improve communications between people working in open source.

10. People need help finding their way

Michelle Williams
Michelle Williams — Ideaction

A powerful metaphor about open source and the way knowledge passes between people came from Michelle Williams who wrapped up the conference. She says when she first went to Wellington she heard the city was full of great bars and cafes, but when she wandered around the places she found were average. “It wasn’t until someone showed me that I realised the had great coffee and beer”.


Filed under: News Tagged: open source, Open Source Open Society 2015



comments powered by Disqus




Trending now »

Hot discussions in our forums right now:

NZ Prime Minister John Key Resigns
Created by ajobbins, last reply by mattwnz on 8-Dec-2016 17:50 (212 replies)
Pages... 13 14 15


Gareth Morgan is a genius
Created by Satch, last reply by mudguard on 8-Dec-2016 18:25 (44 replies)
Pages... 2 3


The President Of The USA - Who do you think?
Created by TimA, last reply by DarthKermit on 8-Dec-2016 16:22 (909 replies)
Pages... 59 60 61


Dishwasher not Working Properly
Created by tdgeek, last reply by mdav056 on 5-Dec-2016 20:18 (28 replies)
Pages... 2


Wilson's Car Park - When Free is not free
Created by nzkiwiman, last reply by ajobbins on 8-Dec-2016 13:31 (47 replies)
Pages... 2 3 4


Spark wireless broadband and home /lan access: CGNAT limitations
Created by yokkem, last reply by BarTender on 8-Dec-2016 15:57 (19 replies)
Pages... 2


Spark not planning to deploy native IPv6 at all. Ever.
Created by Erayd, last reply by sbiddle on 7-Dec-2016 20:57 (19 replies)
Pages... 2


JB Hifi Cost & GST Sale - 7th Dec
Created by Finch, last reply by Kopkiwi on 7-Dec-2016 15:11 (16 replies)
Pages... 2