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Inessential weirdnesses in free software

Sumana Harihareswara

This talk discusses aspects of our behavior and jargon that stop or slow down some new users and contributors in free software, so that in outreach efforts, we can be better at bridging the gap. These include git's terrible UI, our in-person conference structures, and widespread scorn of and dismissiveness towards team sports, Top 40 music, patriotism, religion, small talk, and Microsoft Windows. In getting rid of unnecessary barriers, we need to watch out for disrespectful oversimplification, so I outline ways you can know if one of our weirdnesses is necessary. And I talk about how to mitigate the effects of an inessential weirdness in your outreach efforts.

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3 years, 2 months ago

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

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Inessential weirdnesses in free software (libreplanet)

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CC BY-SA 4.0

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This talk was presented at LibrePlanet.

libreplanet.org


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.

gnu.org/important


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.

gnu.org/not-open-source


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.

gnu.org/gnu-begin


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.

gnu.org/gnu-and-linux


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.