An Open Source Conference Remembers the Origins of the Movement
Later this week, I will be in Los Angeles to speak at the Southern California Linux Expo, better known as SCALE. While my speaking at a conference is nothing unusual (I did it more than a dozen times last year), the conference itself is remarkable in its adherence to the spirit of Open Source.
I still have vivid memories of some of the Open Source conferences I attended 15+ years ago. Geeks gathered together on a weekend to talk about Linux and the great software they were creating. It is important to remember that back then, Open Source coders had no corporate backing, so coding and conferences had to be done on personal time.
I remember the conversations which took place at the evening get-togethers. I can still see the fire in the eyes of attendees as they eagerly described the cool stuff they were doing writing or using Linux-based software. I can still hear the excited voices extolling the qualities of their newest project. You could feel the enthusiasm in the air. You could almost taste it.
It wasn't the process of creating Free Software that excited people. And it wasn't the jobs which drove them to create the software; Open Source jobs were the elusive "brass ring" many hoped for, but few had. No, the excitement was from a sense of empowerment.
If you were in the IT industry prior to 1995, you probably recall the role of the geek. Software geeks were power tools wielded by the hands of others. Geeks rarely decided things for themselves. If they had a good idea, they were likely to see it shot down by some manager up the food chain with the words, "That's not in the project plan." Or, "That's great, but we can't afford to waste time on that."...