Software Freedom in a Post Open Source World
By Stephen R Walli

Engineers have collaborated on software since they've written software all the way back through the 1950s. In the past few years we have begun to see people argue for a different definition of open source software and raise concerns for the sustainability of the ecosystem. This talk looks at the underpinnings of those concerns, and how the future of free software is an anchor going forward.

Monday 11:10 a.m.–11:50 a.m.

Copyright applied to computer software is a relatively new construct. Engineers that have collaborated on software since the beginning of the industry needed to incorporate ways to continue collaborating in the face of copyright requirements. Software freedom was an early experiment that remains with us to this day.

The open source definition was layered onto the free software world over 20 years ago. For the past few years, we have seen challenges arise to the open source definition that wrestle with concerns over cloud service providers, start-ups, and ethics and field of use concerns. This talk proposes to review these concerns through the underlying lens of engineers collaborating and the definition of software freedom.

Coming back to first principles, it is hoped that ideas can be presented that will protect the engineering collaborations regardless of open source debates, and provide context for future challenges.

Stephen R Walli

Stephen is a principal program manager in the Azure Office of the CTO at Microsoft. Prior to that, he has been a distinguished technologist (HPE), technical executive, a founder, a consultant, a writer, a systems developer, a software construction geek, and a standards diplomat. He loves to build teams and products that make customers ecstatic. He has worked in the IT industry since 1980 as both customer and vendor, working with open source for almost 30 years. He tweets as @stephenrwalli. He blogs at "Once More unto the Breach",, and Medium.


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