AuthorJustin W. Flory

How did Free Software build a social movement?

The Free Software movement is rooted to origins in the 1980s. As part of a talk I gave with my colleague and friend Mike Nolan at FOSDEM 2020, we analyzed how the Free Software movement emerged as a response to a changing digital world in three different phases. This blog post is an exploration and framing of that history to understand how the social movement we call “Free Software” was constructed.

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CopyleftConf 2020: quick rewind

CopyleftConf 2020 took place on Monday, 3 February, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium:

This will be the second annual International Copyleft Conference. Participants from throughout the copyleft world — developers, strategists, enforcement organizations, scholars and critics — will be welcomed for an in-depth, high bandwidth, and expert-level discussion about the day-to-day details of using copyleft licensing, obstacles facing copyleft and the future of copyleft as a strategy to advance and defend software freedom for users and developers around the world.

This event will provide a friendly and safe place for discussion of all aspects of copyleft, including as a key strategy for defending software freedom!

Official conference website

This was my first time attending CopyleftConf. I attended on behalf of RIT LibreCorps to represent the sustainability efforts at the RIT [email protected] initiative. However, I also represented myself as an individual in the Free Software movement. For CopyleftConf 2020, I arrived hoping to learn more about where we, as the Free Software community, are going. I also hoped to gain a deeper ethical perspective about our digital society.

Me excitingly looking up to the main stage, holding my CopyleftConf 2020 schedule, after having bought my ticket earlier that same morning.
Me excitingly holding my CopyleftConf 2020 schedule after having bought my ticket earlier that same morning.

Event reports take many forms. Since CopyleftConf 2020 is structured in a unique format, my event report is structured as follows:

  • At a glance: structure and key takeaways: High-level overview of what CopyleftConf 2020 was like. What the biggest ideas on my mind were at the end of the day.
  • Copyleft adopt curves: what drove copyright adoption then (or now?): Musings on the history of copyleft and movement building.
  • Free Software, but for kids: Children and teenagers are already building open source communities. How do we include the next generation?
  • Where are we going?: Software ethics and copyleft licensing.
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The day open source died: a story about Minecraft, Bukkit, and the GPL

Once upon a time, when I was a teenager, I volunteered in the Minecraft open source community. I volunteered as a staff member of the largest open source Minecraft server today, called Spigot. Spigot is a fork of the Bukkit project.

This blog post is a story roughly covering 2010 to 2014 on the meaning, values, and promise of open source. This story impacted a community of hundreds of thousands of people, mostly adolescent children, teenagers, and young adults. It is a tale about the simultaneous success and failure of the GNU Public License (GPL).

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Throwback draft: An untitled poem

I was cleaning out my saved personal messages on Telegram and found this untitled poem. I wrote this on or around May 27th, 2016.

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TeleIRC v2.0.0: March 2020 progress update

Since September 2019, the RITlug TeleIRC team is hard at work on the v2.0.0 release of TeleIRC. This blog post is a short update on what is coming in TeleIRC v2.0.0, our progress so far, and when to expect the next major release.

What’s coming in TeleIRC v2.0.0?

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Essay response: Interlocking role of media

This blog post is an essay response from a class I took at the Rochester Institute of Technology, WGST-357: Communication, Gender, and Media. This course was taught by Dr. Nickesia Gordon. The essay prompt encouraged us to reflect broadly on the role of media in society. I liked my response and wanted to re-share it on my blog.

(Dr. Gordon, if you find this: I hope you don’t mind, I mean the best!)

What are some ways in which media interlocks with other institutions? What does this interlocking suggest about the role of media in society?

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FOSDEM 2020, pt. 1: Play by play

FOSDEM 2020 took place from Saturday, 1 February, 2020 to Sunday, 2 February, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium (shortly after Sustain OSS 2020 and CHAOSScon EU 2020):

FOSDEM is a free and non-commercial event organized by the community for the community. The goal is to provide free and open source software developers and communities a place to meet to:

– Get in touch with other developers and projects;

– Be informed about the latest developments in the free software world;

– Be informed about the latest developments in the open source world;

– Attend interesting talks and presentations on various topics by project leaders and committers;

– To promote the development and benefits of free software and open source solutions.

fosdem.org/2020/about/

This is my third time attending FOSDEM. I attended on behalf of RIT LibreCorps to represent our engagement with the UNICEF Office of Innovation and the Innovation Fund. For FOSDEM 2020, I arrived ready to give my talk (coming in pt. 2) and honestly to see where the weekend took me.

Planning out FOSDEM is hard. So, my strategy is to figure it out as I go, since most of what I get out of FOSDEM comes from casual conversations and “hallway track.”

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CHAOSScon EU 2020: play by play

CHAOSScon EU 2020 took place on Friday, 31 January, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium (the day after Sustain OSS 2020):

Learn about open source project health metrics and tools used by open source projects, communities, and engineering teams to track and analyze their community work. This conference will provide a venue for discussing open source project health, CHAOSS updates, use cases, and hands-on workshops for developers, community managers, project managers, and anyone interested in measuring open source project health. We will also share insights from the CHAOSS working groups on Diversity and Inclusion, Evolution, Risk, Value, and Common Metrics.

chaoss.community/chaosscon-2020-eu/

This is my second time attending CHAOSScon. I attended on behalf of RIT LibreCorps to represent our engagement with the UNICEF Office of Innovation and the Innovation Fund. For CHAOSScon EU 2020, I arrived hoping to learn more about effective metric collection strategies for open source communities and also get a deeper understanding of the technology behind GrimoireLab.

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Sustain OSS 2020: quick rewind

The 2020 Sustain Open Source Summit took place on Thursday, 30 January, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium:

Sustain Summit events are led by a facilitator. There are no keynotes, talks, or sponsor demos. Your undivided attention is required. Phones and laptops should not be used throughout the day and you will be asked to put devices away if they are a distraction to you or anyone else.

When we talk about sustainability, we are talking both and equally about the sustainability of resources and the sustainability of its people. We hope you can join us for the conversation.

sustainoss.org/summit-2020/

This is my second time attending Sustain OSS (see my 2018 event report). I attended on behalf of RIT LibreCorps to represent the sustainability efforts at the RIT [email protected] initiative, but also to represent myself as an individual and sustainer in the open source movement. For Sustain OSS 2020, I arrived hoping to learn more about community-first governance models. I left with a lot of notes and the first blueprints for Principles of Authentic Participation.

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DevConf CZ 2020: play by play

DevConf CZ 2020 took place from Friday, January 24th to Sunday January 27th in Brno, Czech Republic:

DevConf.CZ 2020 is the 12th annual, free, Red Hat sponsored community conference for developers, admins, DevOps engineers, testers, documentation writers and other contributors to open source technologies. The conference includes topics on Linux, Middleware, Virtualization, Storage, Cloud and mobile. At DevConf.CZ, FLOSS communities sync, share, and hack on upstream projects together in the beautiful city of Brno, Czech Republic.

devconf.info/cz/

This is my third time attending DevConf CZ. I attended on behalf of RIT LibreCorps for professional development, before a week of work-related travel. DevConf CZ is also a great opportunity to meet friends and colleagues from across time zones. This year, I arrived hoping to better understand the future of Red Hat’s technology, see how others are approaching complex problems in emerging technology and open source, and of course, to have yummy candy.

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