Free Software. Open Source. Software Freedom. Free as in Speech or Free as in Beer?
We're all familiar with the buzzwords, the catchphrases, and slogans. We all know the "GPL vs BSD" debate, and have probably participate in it at some point. But what do they mean, really? Is Open Source really just a friendlier name for Free Software, or is there something more to it?
Yes. Yes there is. Free Software, at its core, is a philosophical, cultural, and political movement. It is a part of, and inspiration for, the Free Culture movement. A movement born of a simple belief: That you should have control of your own digital destiny, and that it is immoral to deprive people of that right.
Let's try to recollect where our community came from, and the principles upon which it was founded.


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Matt Brunt at 18:02 on 13 Apr 2019

Important topic and incredibly important points made

The tone of the talk was too far over the passionate -> angry line too often for me and felt too ranty and attacking.

I can see why parts are angry, but other parts felt needlessly so.

A tone shift in the talk a little would improve it for me

Stuart McGill at 19:54 on 13 Apr 2019

Larry is an accomplished, passionate and thought-provoking speaker. But I think the talk could have been far better without the hectoring tone - which (for me at least) just gets your hackles up. As he showed in the spirited Q&A afterwards he is certainly capable of nuanced argument - I wish he'd brought some of it into the talk.

Great talk! It is not an easy thing to talk about such difficult topics.
It makes us more aware of what our responsibilities as developers are.

Mark Taylor at 12:14 on 14 Apr 2019

I think this was a very interesting talk and taught me several things. I'll also be researching things further. However I found your talk overly confrontational and even aggressive in places which was uncalled for.

I really loved the introduction and business ideas, it was a fun way to start the talk! The history and how you explained the difference between open source and free software which I think many mix up - Also brilliant.

A star is subtracted because I do not think the way you delivered this talk in quite an aggressive way fit this conference, or the European audience. That's a style of speaking that makes many (including me) quite uncomfortable.

BUT I still agree with the message of this talk 110%, and it would be amazing if we had a world where we had more control of our own digital destiny. And maybe one day we will get there? This talk makes one think.

I've had to sleep on it before submitting feedback on this particular talk.

With hindsight, the subject of the talk was very thought provoking but I felt the delivery was too passionate (bordering on aggressive). To be completely honest, my initial response was "here's someone else telling me what to think and that everyone else is wrong".

Personally, I feel the subject is better suited to a cut down talk with a longer Q&A at the end as it would start a fascinating and engaging debate.

My mind hasn't been changed but there were questions asked that I can't answer. What I know for certain is I haven't drawn a line under this topic and that's certainly a positive to take from the session.

Larry is clearly passionate about the subject matter. This however came across as aggressive and confrontational at times (this was even more evident in the Q&A).

Please remember that just because a change in business model would work for some industries this does not mean it would work for all.

I also wonder if Larry actually puts this into practice himself. For example is the stack completely open? I suspect not (and looking at their Github also suggests not).

Mousey at 23:11 on 14 Apr 2019

Overall a well researched, thought provoking talk that raises some important points every developer has an obligation to think seriously about.

That said, the talk came across as overly-spirited and even hostile in many places, felt less like sharing knowledge and more like getting chewed out for the actions of large tech companies.

Was glad to be sat right up at the back put it that way!

Shaun Walker at 10:16 on 15 Apr 2019

Absolutely a polarising talk, from both the subject matter and the delivery.

My summary, I personally loved this talk. I do see where others might not appreciate the delivery style, and I agree that the opinion of the talk is a bit TOO hard and fast on the whole idea of (paraphrasing) "use (A)GPL so your users keep their rights".

But like any rights movement, progress is mostly made by the zealots of a cause. Pushing everyone else higher for the better, even if their idea of "right" might never be wholly achieved.

On the delivery, I loved it. I'm not sure what to say if audience members took offence. "We did this. You did this." The power and impact of statements like that are exactly as they need to be. No, he is not saying to every person in the room "You built Facebook ergo you all should be in jail". Software is the cause and in my opinion WILL be the cause in future, of some of the worlds greatest atrocities that history will look upon at similar levels of the World Wars and other horrific events in history.

And as the talk states. Software doesnt randomly appear.

People. Write. Code.

The people in that room. Write. Code.

After the results of the Atom bomb. The entire world of scientists became highly regulated. Not because every scientist wanted to make an atom bomb, or the next black plague. But because they COULD.

Software development has nothing. We rely on the morals, the integrity, the defiance of people all over the world who are no different than the people in that room.

The licensing stuff is pretty much another talk in itself, as far as opinions on whether that is right and what could be added there. But the 2 halves are the perfect compliment to each other, they ask the "why?" and at least partly answer the "how?" for each other.

The world is bigger than 60 minutes on a stage. Distilling such a large topic, you have to throw away the asterisks and disclaimers.

We're all adults, we can take the values here, how they clash not only with the tech world but with society and politics as a whole, and apply them to our own moral compass as best we can.

Despite having disagreements with the absoluteness of certain parts of the talk.
I loved the content, and the delivery, which was exactly as loud and aggressive as I think it needed to be.

John Hughes at 11:30 on 15 Apr 2019

Passionate, informative, and sometimes uncomfortable. I thought this was a good way to end the day, to be reminded of the human consequences of what we use and what we produce. However, while I found a lot of value in the substance of the talk, I thought the delivery was a bit aggressive for this particular audience.

This was my least favourite talk of the event. It was too angry and condescending, and I didn't think the insults about Richard Stallman (specifically looking up a particular term and finding a picture of Richard) were necessary. Some excellent counter points were raised in questions but the response was aggressive. I agree with the general concept, however, and there were some excellent examples of organisations acting unethically.

Passionately presented (a bit too passionate in some moments), but it brought into conversation an important aspect of what we do as developers: the real human consequences. I came away with a few more things to research and to consider in my own work, but must say I found the style of delivery a little forceful.