Why Free Software?

Presented by Larry Garfield (@Crell)


Larry implements Huggable
Open Source is Awesome!


What is Open Source, anyway?

Free Software, 1984

Crell and Richard Stallman, 2015

Richard Stallman, 2015

Free Software Definition

  1. The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose.
  2. The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish.
  3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
  4. The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others.
Use, Learn, Improve, Share

Free Software Foundation, 1985

GNU's Not Unix

"Open Source", late 90s

Open Source Initiative

DrupalCon Portland

So what is Free Software?

  • Use is unrestricted
  • Respects your sovereignty and independence
  • Collaboration is encouraged

Benefits of Free Software

  • Ethical
  • Economic
  • Security

Ethical benefits

If the users don’t control the program, the program controls the users.

—Richard Stallman, "Free Software, Free Society", Page 30

1st Moral Principle of the web

When a computer receives conflicting instructions from its owner and from a remote party, the owner always wins.

—Cory Doctorow, Former EFF Director

How to protect the future web

Economic benefits

What is your business?

Tip: It's probably not software

The most radical possible solution for constructing software is not to
construct it at all.

—Fred Brooks, No Silver Bullet, 1986

Author, The Mythical Man-Month

The way to be more productive is to write less code

The way to be more productive is to share more code

Open Y is a Drupal Distribution by and for YMCAs

Per-item licensing restricts
development options

What motivates developers?

For many developers, peer review and acclaim is important, so it's likely that they will prefer to build software that is admired by their peers. Highly prized factors are clean design, reliability and maintainability, with adherence to standards and shared community values preeminent.

Benefits of Using Open Source Software, GBDirect

Open Source Syndrome

Most open source projects subconsciously evolve to be interesting and desireable for developers first, then everyone else second. Editors and marketers are often the second-class citizen in these cases.

Web Content Management by Deane Barker

Commercial Software Syndrome

Many proprietary CMSs have very polished demos, but that polish is only skin deep. The slick UI hides a lack of underlying power and flexibility—crucial power and flexibility that open source developers find interesting to work on.

—Me, as quoted in Web Content Management by Deane Barker

"Take your business elsewhere"

And your dog, too

ownCloud nextCloud
LibreOffice X.org Backdrop CMS

But who will I sue?

Hello, I'm suing you

You didn't read your EULA...

But who will I call at 2 am?

Whoever you're paying to be awake at 2 am.

Security benefits

Popular Open Source software tends to be secure because insecure Open Source software tends to get unpopular fast.

—Chris Messina, Google, inventor of #Hashtags, DrupalCon DC, 2009

Why is there a copy of Doom in my spreadsheet?
There is a Doom clone in Excel 95

The Hall of Tortured Souls

Proprietary software has no security at all in one crucial case—against its developer. And the developer may help others attack. Microsoft shows Windows bugs to the NSA (the US government digital spying agency) before fixing them.

—"Free Software, Free Society", Page 31, Richard Stallman

Source: Sean Gallagher, "NSA Gets Early Access to Zero-Day Data from Microsoft, Others," 14 June 2013

Linus' Law

Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow

Only true for malicious code

Anyone can audit the code;
not everyone does.

Diffusion of Responsibility

Fix your own bugs malicious code

Security is a process, not a product

... the only way to effectively do business in an insecure world is to put processes in place that recognize the inherent insecurity in the products.

Bruce Schneider, Security researcher, CTO of Resilient, 2000

Case study: Kaltura module (c. 2010)

Fight Diffusion of Responsibility

If you're not paying for it, you are the product.

If you're not paying for it, I don't care what you think

("Pay" doesn't always mean money)

Free Software is a Gift Economy

Developer time

Time is the currency of Free Software

  1. Review more code than you write!
  2. Fix more bugs than you add features!

Help with more than just code



Graphic design

Web site


Engage the developer

Many maintainers are freelancers

Hire the/a developer

This does not give you absolute control!

If it's business critical, you need full time staff.

Pay for an audit

Be invested

Free Software is not about getting cheap stuff

Free Software isn't a license, it's a culture

Participation culture,
not Permission culture

Free Software is interactive

If you don't interact, you don't matter

Pay It Forward

Free Software is only as awesome as the people in it

Free Software is only as
awesome as you are

Keep Calm and Be Awesome
Quotes for OSS being great But... why? What is OSS? (Brief definition) Mention Free Software, and differences Economic * Selling software isn't your business * Share the load * Quality over polish * "Commercial software syndrome" (cf Content Management book) * Early adopters of betas help find bugs * "Take your business elsewhere" (Serena Collage, XFree86/Xorg) * No licensing; not for cost, but for simplicity * Who do I sue? No one, your EULA prevents you anyway. Security * plenty of good and bad OSS and proprietary * Chris Messina: Popular OSS tends to be secure because insecure OSS tends to get unpopular fast. * Can inspect it: Safety against malicious code * "OSS isn't more secure. OSS is more auditable, which makes it secure in the long run." * Not just code, but process. Varies widely. (Drupal is excellent.) Mention Kalamuna (or whoever they were?) * https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2015/08/how-governments-are-using-spyware-to-attack-free-speech/ Ethical * Free Software: Software you can't control, controls you * Ppl have a right to digital self-sovereignty * Government: People already own government, and its output. Wrong to hide from them. * "Public good" Get involved * "If you're not paying for it, you are the product" * In OSS, you're paying by giving the dev karma/street cred * No other relationship, unless you pay for it * Unethical to exploit. * Pay for good OSS * Actually audit it. (This can be expensive) * Have a say. No investment, no say. Conclusion * Open Source is only as awesome as the people behind it * Open Source isn't a license. It's a culture * Open Source is interactive. You don't matter unless you interact. Lots of sources from: http://open-source.gbdirect.co.uk/migration/benefit.html

Larry Garfield

Director of Developer Experience, Platform.sh

Continuous Deployment Cloud Hosting

Stalk us at @PlatformSH