Yesterday was the last day of the OSWC and I could assist to the “Vision of the gurus” conference.
The guest stars for this speech were Bdale Garbee (Hewlett-Packard), Suárez-Potts (Openoffice.org & SUN), Martin Michlmayr (Debian) y Sacha Labourey (Red Hat), moderated by Francis Pisani (El País, Le Monde).
Sacha Labourey introduced the speech with a question: Who is taking the real benefits from opensource? the companies or the final users?
And I think it’s true that users usually doesn’t care so much about what they’re using as long as it works. They just look for something, download it (many times not just free software) and give it a try. If after a while they find something wrong on it they just change it without thinking about the chance to change something in it.
Around the companies there’re still the same thoughts. You start to use one product (Which you’ve already paid for) and after some time you notice that you need new features. But after checking the roadmap of your software provider you’ll be lucky if it appear before one year.
What to do? Just sit down and wait, or take another company product (Paying again of course). Maybe some companies just think that it’s hard to maintain code from others. But even if it’s not true there’re also many others alternatives such as ask an external company specialized in opensource to develop a new custom feature for the software you’re using.
In this way Sacha Labourey paid attention to the importance educating the companies about the correct way to pay for the software.
Bdale Garbee spoke about the importance that the companies should put into the development of this kind of software, but he also pointed out that FLOSS it isn’t a commercial model so it won’t make a company to be successful by itself.
He spoke also about the lack of usability of some GUIs in opensource. According to this he also mentioned that his young daughter without being IT-related has been taking part in some opensource conferences discussing about this topic. Taking this example he empathized that we need to include all the sectors of the population in the FLOSS world.
Martin Michlmayr commented how surprising was for him the first day that there were so many young people in the conference. He focused that even if there’s a huge community over there, as this event shows, the people doesn’t know yet how to use opensource properly. They should learn to give something back to the community instead of just take and use. He joked about that they’re getting old, but then he asked who will replace them when they’ll start to be less active and then nobody laughed in the auditorium :)
Suárez-Potts was speaking about sustainability, not just about FLOSS but about our world, arguing how bad is monopoly in every aspect of this life, because that destroys freedom and innovation.
At the end he read a manifest that he was writing during the OSWC. It’s was really nice and you can read it completely on his blog, but I would like to quote few lines:
- Do today what can be done tomorrow and the day after, or planning for the future in every act.
- Do things in the consciousness of the others
- Do what you can now, and don’t wait for some sign, revolution, spectacle or catastrophe. We have the tools to act, we have the sense, and we all know what has to be done. I want communities of freedom, based on the principles of individual freedom and responsibility and acting in conjunction with others.
…as the Málaga conference shows, the world is connected
So keep this in mind:
Don’t wait for google to tell you what you’ve to do next just think what to do, and do it now!