Simon delivered a talk for the new Tidelift conference “Upstream”. In it he drew together the threads of several earlier posts about the rights ratchet model (“bait & switch meets boiling frogs”) using the history of the now-defunct Sugar CRM open source project as an initial case study and then examining the various ratchets that remove rights from open source project participants, ways to detect that a project is actually a rights ratchet and steps to mitigate the consequences including promoting permission in advance.
Simon joined Doc Searls to host episode 622 of FLOSS Weekly featuring Keith Packard, one of the key figures of the open source software movement. They talked about Keith’s involvement in the X System and Freedesktop.org and strayed into related topics including the many projects Keith has helped and his interest in rocketry!
One significant discussion considered the thread joining the fork of XFree86, the recent vote to change the board of Nominet in the UK and the controversy over the reinstatement of Richard M Stallman to the board of the Free Software Foundation this week. Each represents a significant entity to the open movement which has leadership that was established as a “club” between activists and failed to progress into a well-governed organisation representing and controlled by the community.
Using a community FAQ as a way to get internal disagreement addressed and external communities on board – the OpenJDK experience!
In this talk from FOSS Backstage 2021, Rich Sands and I discuss the way we used a (very large) FAQ to both align the disparate corporate functions inside Sun Microsystems and address the lack of trust in Sun by both the Free Java community and the wider open source community. What we did back then is still a highly appropriate tool for any OSPO that needs to stand in the divide between a controversial corporate position and an aggravated community.
Simon co-hosted FLOSS Weekly 616 this week and along with Doc Searls interviewed Roberto di Cosmo from (among other things) the Software Heritage project, which has the goal of archiving all the world’s software source code. The discussion was as wide-ranging as you’d expect, covering both the idea of software as a cultural artefact and the specifics of Software Heritage such as the unique IDs it gives every software version it archives so that software becomes citable in research. One particular topic was the grant programme that Sloan Foundation funds to get new connectors for Software Heritage written, which readers may want to consider.
Bareos is not pronounced the same way as bareness and despite sounding like it is nothing to do with a guy called Barry. It’s a comprehensive and mature backup system forked from the Bacula project when it headed proprietary a few years back. Simon joined Randall Schwartz to interview one of its founders and find out where it was headed and just what sort of open source project it is.
Simon went to the studio (complete with an audience from Italy) to co-host FLOSS Weekly covering Aquameta, an application building platform that sits atop PostgreSQL.
Simon visited the studio this week to co-host FLOSS Weekly 523 which interviewed the developers behind the new FluidKeys project that simplifies team key sharing so secrets can be passed encrypted and e-mails can be easily managed. It uses OpenPGP so potentially enhances any OpenPGP tool. It was open core when we started the show but by the end they were convinced it should actually all be open source under AGPL!
This week on FLOSS Weekly Simon co-hosted a fascinating conversation with NextCloud’s founder Frank Karlitschek.
Simon seemed to enjoy discovering that the era in which he started his career (the 80s) still has resonances today. In an experience he describes as “akin to finding a live trilobite on a fossil beach”, FLOSS Weekly 510 discovered that the MUMPS database GT.M is still alive, is now open source under the AGPL, is called YottaDB and is going strong. GT.M was (and is) the original NoSQL database, powering healthcare long before anyone thought to call it NoSQL.
YottaDB demonstrates one of the great strengths of open source, public escrow. While the copyright holders of GT.M have no interest in a public project, releasing it under an OSI-approved open source license has liberated the code and allowed K.S. Bhaskar to start a new kind of company to make it globally available.