Open Source: The Next Generation

Geek Lifestyle
Location: D138 Level: Novice
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This year’s college students never had a Commodore 64 – it had been discontinued before they were born. And if they saw Star Trek: The Next Generation, it was reruns – they were already on to Deep Space Nine. As far back as they can remember, they’ve always had broadband, and if the library didn’t have the book they wanted, they could always get it from Amazon. They’ve grown up with the internet and Google – they’ve used Bittorrent for filesharing, and they’ve never heard of Usenet.

The baseline expectations have changed, and we can no longer make the same assumptions we’ve always made. Free and Open Source Software is powered by the principle of the itch, but kids nowadays have fundamentally different itches to those that Stallman, ESR and Perens were scratching in the 80s and 90s. And they’re not even really kids any more. If you were born in the same year that the Debian Free Software Guidelines were released, you’re old enough to drive this year. If you were born in the same year that Linux was first released, you’re old enough to drink.

The next generation is smart, and they’re already coding. The future is bright. But we may need to do some work to make sure it’s open. How can we make open source relevant to the Facebook generation? And how should our communities adapt to recognize their itches, and to benefit from their work?

This talk will look at some of the ways that individual open source communities are trying to answer those questions, from OpenHatch to the Summer of KDE, from GNOME Outreach to Fedora’s design bounties. It will also draw on experience with programs like Google Summer of Code and Google Code-In to see how those answers can be generalized for projects big and small.

Photo of Nóirín Plunkett

Nóirín Plunkett

Eucalyptus Systems

Noirin Plunkett is a jack of all trades, and a master of several. A technical writer by day, her open source work epitomizes the saying “if you want something done, ask a busy person”.

Noirin got her open source start at Apache, helping out with the httpd documentation project. Within a year, she had been recruited to the conference planning team, which she now leads. She was involved in setting up the Community Development project at Apache, and acts as organization admin for Apache projects participating in Google Summer of Code. And, of course, she continues to contribute to ASF projects as diverse as Infrastructure and Incubator, and serves as Executive Vice President for the Foundation. She also sits on the board of the Open Cloud Initiative.

When she’s not online, Noirin’s natural habitat is the dance floor, although she’s also a keen harpist & singer, and a mean cook!

Photo of Michael Schwern

Michael Schwern

eval Empire

As a speaker at OSCON I believe we should all strive to create a fun, educational, enjoyable and harassment-free conference experience for everyone.

I’m pleased to say Tim O’Reilly thinks so too!

If you are being harassed, or witness harassment please report it to venue security, the police, the conference organisers or a trusted friend. You do not have to put up with it.

For more detail on what a code of conduct which includes an anti-harassment policy should contain, please review the geekfeminism wiki conference anti-harassment policy template

Schwern has a copy of Perl 6, he lets Larry Wall borrow it and take notes.

Schwern once sneezed into a microphone and the text-to-speech conversion was a regex that turns crap into gold.

Damian Conway and Schwern once had an arm wrestling contest. The superposition still hasn’t collapsed.

Schwern was the keynote speaker at the first YAPC::Mars.

When Schwern runs a smoke test, the fire department is notified.

Dan Brown analyzed a JAPH Schwern wrote and discovered it contained the Bible.

Schwern writes Perl code that writes Makefiles that write shell scripts on VMS.

Schwern does not push to master, master pushes to Schwern.

SETI broadcast some of Schwern’s Perl code into space. 8 years later they got a reply thanking them for the improved hyper drive plans.

Schwern once accidentally typed “git pull —hard” and dragged Github’s server room 10 miles.

There are no free namespaces on CPAN, there are just modules Schwern has not written yet.

Schwern’s tears are said to cure cancer, unfortunately his Perl code gives it right back.

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Picture of Michael Schwern
Michael Schwern
07/22/2012 11:30am PDT contains further reading. A video of an earlier performance of the talk is at Just replace “Perl” with “Open Source”. Information about the Open Source Bridge conference mentioned in the talk is at

Thanks for coming!

Picture of Bert Porter
Bert Porter
07/22/2012 9:02am PDT

I was initially put off by the talk of diversity, expressed in classic “guys vs women” language and concepts. But in the end, I appreciate this talk quite a bit, for its witty and apt use of Kirk and Picard, and for the wider idea of reaching out beyond developers. And I want to check out that Open Source Bridge Foundation conference.


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