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Advocate for yourself at work: use more free software and keep contributing to the community

Deb Nicholson, Open Invention Network and Richard Fontana, Red Hat

Your workplace can exert a lot of control over how much free software you use, what you're allowed to work on in your own time and what kinds of tools you become an expert in. New employees don't always negotiate their contracts to make sure they can continue contributing to free software and current employees aren't always successful at advocating for using free software tools, choosing free software technologies or contributing changes back upstream when they do rely on free software. This talk addresses what's possible, what your legal department is likely to be concerned about and how to be a smooth negotiator at work. Many companies could benefit tremendously from using FLOSS, but free software enthusiasts and institutional gatekeepers are coming from very different perspectives. Free software developers and users tend to be most familiar with free software's benefits when compared to proprietary solutions; user freedom, reusing code, public code review for bugs, increased project capacity and cost. The uninitiated may -- unfortunately -- be most familiar with the risks, some real and some perceived. Employers also benefit from having workers who are passionate about their work, are well-connected to the free software community and are constantly learning about new technologies from their peers outside the company, but new employee contracts rarely recognize this unless you ask. Conversations about contracts, choosing new technologies and sharing an employee's work with another entity are high stakes negotiations. With a solid understanding of what worries and motivates the other parties, you can become a savvy advocate for free software at work. This talk will help you gather information, frame the conversation and make the best possible case for using and contributing to free software at work.


6 years, 8 months ago

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LibrePlanet 2016 video · LibrePlanet 2016 · LibrePlanet · lp2016 · video

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LibrePlanet 2016 Videos (libreplanet)


CC BY-SA 4.0


This talk was presented at LibrePlanet.


LibrePlanet is the Free Software Foundation's annual conference. The FSF campaigns for free/libre software, meaning it respects users' freedom and community. We believe that users are entitled to this; all software should be free.


We do not advocate "open source".

That term was coined to reject our views. It refers to similar practices, but usually presented solely as advantageous, without talking of right and wrong.


Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 by announcing development of the free operating system, GNU. By 1992, GNU was nearly operational; one major essential component was lacking, the kernel.


In 1992, Torvalds freed the kernel Linux, which filled the last gap in GNU. Since then, the combined GNU/Linux system has run in millions of computers. Nowadays you can buy a new computer with a totally free GNU/Linux system preinstalled.


The views of the speaker may not represent the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation supports the free software cause and freedom to share, and basic freedoms in the digital domain, but has no position on other political issues.