The bookmark was creeping on my browser’s toolbar for months. “Cryptographic Autonomy License” CAL-1.0 on the Open Source Initiative webpage. But today, I decided it was time to do my first amateur license review. This is a fun exercise (for me). Do not take this too seriously!
The Cryptographic Autonomy License is one of newest Open Source licenses on the block. The Open Source Initiative approved it in February 2020. This license also made ripples when it came through. But the question I had, and could not find a clear answer to, was why is it so interesting?
This blog post is my attempt to do a casual coffee-table review of the license. If you agree or disagree, I encourage you to leave a comment and share your opinion and why!
On December 13th, 2006, author Bruce Byfield reflected on why he thought Free and Open Source Software (F.O.S.S.) was not on activist agendas. My interpretation of his views are that a knowledge barrier about technology makes FOSS less accessible, the insular nature of activism makes collaboration difficult, and FOSS activists reaching out to other activists with shared values should be encouraged. On December 13th, 2019, is FOSS on activist agendas? The answer is not black or white, but a gray somewhere in the middle. This is my response to Byfield’s article, thirteen years later, on what he got right but also what he left out.
This year, I attended the second edition of the Sustain Open Source Summit (a.k.a. Sustain OSS) on October 25th, 2018 in London. Sustain OSS is a one-day discussion on various topics about sustainability in open source ecosystems. It’s also a collection of diverse roles across the world of open source. From small project maintainers to open source program managers at the largest tech companies in the world, designers to government employees, there is a mix of backgrounds in the room. Yet there is a shared context around the most systemic problems faced by open source projects, communities, and people around the world.
The shared context is the most valuable piece of the conference. As a first-time attendee, I was blown away by the depth and range of topics covered by attendees. This blog post covers a narrow perspective of Sustain OSS through the sessions I participated and co-facilitated in.
Open source becomes more common every year, where it appears at government municipalities to universities. More companies turn to open source software too. However, some companies try to take it a step further, and instead of only using the software, they also support projects financially or with developers. Facebook’s open source program encourages others in Facebook to release their code as open source. They also work and engage with the community to support the projects too.
Christine Abernathy, a Facebook developer advocate and member of the open source team, visited the Rochester Institute of Technology on November 15, 2017. She gave the November edition of the FOSS Talks speaker series. Her talk explained how Facebook approaches open source and why it’s an important part of the work they do.
The past few months have brought many changes for me. I traveled throughout Europe to experience some of the open source conferences and communities across the continent. Along the way, I met incredible people with powerful stories about their own communities. However, there is one community that I knew about before I came to Europe. The Open Labs Hackerspace in Tirana, Albania is a special community that I was fortunate enough to discover and meet. Together, they have helped set in motion the open source way in their own city.
Open source projects are built online and a lot of their community members are placed all over the world. Even though projects have people from around the world, this doesn’t stop ambitious community members to organize open source conferences or events in their own cities. Whether they’re focused generally to open source or for a specific project, you can find a variety of conferences, hackathons, workshops, or meet-ups all over the world. Fedora benefits from having Ambassadors to attend these events to introduce Fedora and spread the word about the community. It’s not uncommon to see Fedora participating in these events, and Linux Weekend 2017 in Tirana, Albania was not an exception.
Jona Azizaj, Fedora Ambassador and Open Labs board member, kicks off Linux Weekend 2017
From March 25-26, 2017 in Tirana, Albania, nearly 130 people attended the first-ever Linux Weekend 2017. Linux Weekend was organized by Open Labs Hackerspace at the Universiteti Politeknik i Tiranës as an introduction to Linux for beginners. Throughout Tirana, universities have a strong focus on Windows or macOS operating systems and little focus is given to Linux. Open Labs community members wanted to organize an event that would promote Linux as an open source alternative and demonstrate some of its benefits over proprietary environments. The event collected representatives from various communities, including Fedora, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, NextCloud, MusicBrainz, and more.
The local hackerspace in Tirana, Albania might be small, but they make up for size in spirit. During the weekend of 18-19 March 2017, the Open Labs Hackerspace organized the first-ever 48 hour “open source” hackathon focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are seventeen objectives identified by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to build a better world, starting in our own communities. Some of the goals include quality education, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, clean energy, and more. During the course of the hackathon, participants selected a goal, broke into teams, and worked on projects to make real change in their own neighborhoods. In the spirit of open source, all projects are made available under free and open licenses.
Before looking too far ahead to the future, it’s important to spend time to reflect over the past year’s events, identify successes and failures, and devise ways to improve. Describing my 2016 is a challenge for me to find the right words for. This post continues a habit I started last year with my 2015 Year in Review. One thing I discover nearly every day is that I’m always learning new things from various people and circumstances. Even though 2017 is already getting started, I want to reflect back on some of these experiences and opportunities of the past year.
For many universities and colleges, there are many technical clubs that students can join. Some clubs focus on programming or using programming for collaborative projects. For anything involving code, clubs usually turn to GitHub. GitHub has become the standard for open source project hosting by thousands of projects in the world. GitHub organizations are the tool GitHub provides to allow someone to create a team of people for working on projects. Organizations can have many repositories and smaller teams inside of them. When getting started with GitHub, there is a method to the madness, and there are ways you can have an ordered organization instead of keeping it messy. Here’s how you do it.
Over the past year, I’ve met incredible people from around the world doing great things in their local communities. At my university, the Women in Computing @ RIT program provides networking for students with faculty, staff, and alumni. They also help advance women in computing through community outreach. I’ve also come into contact with two other international tech communities with interesting stories of their own. With the help of the WiC events committee, we are working on organizing a virtual meetup with WiC from New York, Open Labs Albania, and FOSS Wave from India to introduce each other, share experiences, and more.