Everything open source
May 16–17, 2016: Training & Tutorials
May 18–19, 2016: Conference
Austin, TX

Open source is being ruined, and it’s all our fault

11:55am–12:35pm Wednesday, 05/18/2016
Business of OSS
Location: Meeting Room 9 A/B Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.12, 8 ratings)

Free/libre software (aka open source) has become a functional necessity of most 21st century businesses. The promise of “free” software has lead to rapid adoption of new technology and revolutionized past development processes and spurred entirely new models of businesses. The reality is that open source “realpolitik” is now the norm, leaving much of the founding ideology in the past.

Do businesses care about these ideological concerns? Are they used as a marketing or recruiting tool? Can and should the enterprise crowd take a stance on these issues? The focus becomes blurred as one compares software- and hardware-focused companies.

Brian Redbeard Harrington analyzes how open source businesses make money and how they benefit their users and examines the pragmatic challenges ubiquitous to libre software, open hardware, and selling “support” as a model. Open source advocates should be able to look in the mirror and ensure that we aren’t hurting ourselves, and our businesses, in the pursuit of making a living with the projects we love. Brian’s goal is to provide you with the insight and information to ask tough questions of each other and appreciate the discussion as much as the outcome.

Photo of Brian Redbeard Harrington

Brian Redbeard Harrington


Brian Harrington, also known as Redbeard, is a principal architect at CoreOS. Brian is a developer, hacker, and technical writer in the areas of open source development and systems administration. He combines his experiences in both defensive and offensive computing with his readings of classical anarchism to present new ideas in organizational hierarchies for software development. Brian has been featured on Al Jazeera as an expert in the field of computer security and has been seen and heard on Bloomberg Television and National Public Radio. He currently resides in Oakland, CA, and was grudgingly elected president of the hackerspace HacDC.