Open Source Festival Session Reports

Introduction: Session One

This session report relates to the CCI Open Source Festival held on April 25, 2013 at the University at Albany Campus Center. The session was “Open Source in New York State Government” presented by Kishor Bagul.

Summary

During this session, Kishor Bagul spoke of how the New York State government is similar to any corporation in that it is always searching to improve quality, reduce costs, and create faster development cycles. To obtain these goals, Bagul outlines how open source technology is more than capable in and of itself to make all this happen. The only problem is that the government is hesitant to adopt this open source technology for multiple reasons. The New York State government has been slowly implementing open source technology and Bagul also outlines where in the government open source is being used.

Why It Matters

It is important to note how the New York State government plans on going about adopting open source technology and how it is already implemented in some aspects of the government. The government faces some common barriers to open source adoption and these barriers result from fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about open source technology. FUD leads to questions such as if open source technology is secure, or why should the government even need to share their data, and doubts about having the necessary technical skill to implement it.

fud meatsOpen source is used in many places in the New York State government right now. Offices such as the New York State office of Mental Health use open source for open data and client libraries such as Python and Ruby. The government is also slowly adopting the Linux operating system so they aren’t running on twenty or more different operating systems. New York State is also using jQuery, GitHub, and NodeJS among other open source programs. They are slowly implementing open source technology by following a roadmap. Steps on this roadmap are as follows: Innovation is not a barrier, experiment with open source, build open source awareness, collaborate with developers, and contribute.

Impressions

In my opinion, I feel that open source in the New York State government is a large, but much needed action. Considering how jumbled and confusing the government is, open source can easily be used to organize and cut down on the stress. It is also vital that the government keeps up with current technology in this day and age so they don’t struggle in the world technologically. Something that can be related to the government adopting open source technology is the public adopting that same technology. The benefits that open source can provide to the government can also be provided to people if they just take the steps to explore it.

Introduction: Session Two

This second session report relates to the CCI Open Source Festival held on April 25, 2013 at the University at Albany Campus Center. The session was “Copyright, Licensing, and Open Source” presented by Lilian Shafer.

Summary

In this session, Lilian Shafer talks about different types of licenses for open source that still allows the technology to remain an open source product. These licenses include Copyleft, Creative Commons, GNU GPL, and FreeBSD. They are essential to give the world of open source software and technology the freedom and protection it needs.

Why It Matters

Since open source is software licensed for free distribution and redistribution, the special licenses mentioned above are needed to keep it free and open. There are two types of software licensing; proprietary and free and open source licenses. Proprietary licenses are the ones attached to products like Microsoft Office that prevent you from changing or redistributing the software. Free and open source licenses are permissive licenses that can be modified and limit redistribution.

Each license mentioned in the session by Shafer play their own part in the open source world. Copyleft is the practice of using copyright law in order to distribute copies and modified versions of a work, but it requires the same rights to be preserved in all the modified versions. Creative Commons is an organization aimed at expanding the range of creative works available so that others can legally build upon it and share. The organization has released many creative commons licenses that allow creators to convey which rights they reserve and which rights they waive. The GNU General Public License (GPL) is the most commonly used of these free software licenses and it guarantees users the freedom to use, study, share, and modify the work. FreeBSD was the last license that Shafer spoke about and it simply states that users can distribute and modify the work freely as long as they attribute the work and leave the code open.

Impressions

I feel that open source is a wonderful thing and that these licenses that are attributed to it are fundamental in keeping open source active. Without these licenses, the people who have made their work open would not be recognized for it. I use and have used many open source software and I fully support it and all the licenses. Some open source software that I have used include Mozilla Firefox, GIMP, and the android operating system that my phone runs on.

Introduction: Session Three

This third and final session report relates to the CCI Open Source Festival held on April 25, 2013 at the University at Albany Campus Center. The session was “Raspberry Pi Happiness HackSpace” presented by Time Fake and Luiz Ibanez.

Summary

Tim Fake and Luiz Ibanez spoke about the Raspberry Pi hardware and why it is so important. The computer was created after it was realized that there was a lack of accessible hardware in the computer science field. The Raspberry Pi is now used as an accessible way to get kids interested in the computer science field.

Why It Matters

The Raspberry Pi matters because it is an essential part in getting people interested in computers without any severe confusion. It is cheap at only $35 and has an ARM processor, 512Mb of RAM, 2 USB ports, an HDMI port, ethernet port, a 4GB SD memory slot, and open pins for driving devices. It also comes in a smaller model with 512Mb of RAM and one USB port. Considering these specifications, the Raspberry Pi is a somewhat powerful computer that can drive an entertainment center, host a web server, drive robotic devices, and provide computing for video surveillance, among other things.

raspberry piThe Raspberry Pi also opens up opportunities to create Hackerspaces. These are places where people come together to teach and learn about technology. It allows for fun in learning because you can experiment and learn at your own pace. Since the Raspberry Pi is so accessible, it is perfect for these Hackerspaces and for people willing to learn.

Impressions

In my opinion, The Raspberry Pi is a fascinating computer that really helps advance learning about computers. It is easily accessible and fun to work with. Considering I am an Information Science major, I find computers fun and fascinating and the Raspberry Pi is the perfect device to help get other people into the field of computers.

TJ Moschitta

Information Science Major/Business Minor

Class of 2014

 

Image 1 by Bar S Foods {link to http://www.bar-sfoods.com/brand-fud.php}

Image 2 Thorin Klosowski {link to http://lifehacker.com/5970968/build-your-own-pocket+sized-computer-with-a-raspberry-pi}

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