Jeff Young - Leslie Hawthorn Talk

In addition to what I learned from "Revolution OS," I also learned a great deal from Leslie Hawthorn's amazing talk on open source software. The most important, and striking thing to me about the talk was Leslie, herself. I found it interesting that she did not code at all in her job. She obviously comes off as a very smart, and energetic person, and I found this very motivating because it shows you don’t have to be a dungeon dwelling programmer in order to be successful in the business of computers.

Also, the point she made about the high acceptance rate for the Google’s Summer of Code program showed that it is possible for someone to get a foot in the door at one of these big companies. She mentioned that you did not need to be a crazy genius to make it either. Obviously, you need to be smart, and talented, but the points she made about the program were very motivational in making it sound obtainable.

Another aspect of her talk that I found interesting was her story about Richard Stallman. She talked about how Stallman fixed a broken printer’s software using its open source code. This was a perfect illustration of how the open source movement got started. It clearly showed the benefits of open source software within a community.

A final thing I enjoyed about Leslie’s talk was the reports on projects such as Sahana and OpenMRS. I found it particularly interesting that OpenMRS was initially developed by a group of doctors. The inclusion of specific projects gave the speech a sense of what could be accomplished through open source software.

A few other tid-bits I found interesting from the talk were

  • The cost saving effect using Linux on their servers has for Google
  • The Leslie used to have an Iphone, but found it constricting
  • How cool a thousand social networking sites’s logos look when put together on a slide

RAM Comments: Sahana and OpenMRS are indeed impressive projects. I'm starting to think that maybe we should have used Sahana as one of the project in 225 this term. As it turned out, it may be more accessible to people in your situation than Collabbit. That's always a hard call. But, if you're interested in pursuing Sahana or OpenMRS, there are opportunities, including independent studies, and, of course, our summer institute program: