Nicolae D

Leslie Hawthorn's speech about open source software represented a reiteration of all the discussions we had so far in class. Her talk was geared towards a more general crowd of people and was focused on answering questions related to the beginning of the open source movement and its future.

Although most of the things she said during her talk were already known by most of the people attending, the points that she made and her way of being made it very interesting and amusing at the same time. Addressing Richard Stallman as “the dude with the long beard and the long hair” got everyone's attention to the person who initiated the free software movement. Her presentation of the history of free software touched on the main points of why free software is important to the society, what difference there is between free software and open source software, what efforts are being made to increase awareness of this movement etc.

In my opinion, I think her talk was good at providing general information about free and open source software, but I feel that the event could have been even more interesting if she would have provided more information about how she sees this industry changing from the Google point of view, or things that the general public does not have access to by watching a movie or reading a book. I think that her position as program manager at Google's Open Source Programs Office would have enabled her to expand the talk beyond the general information. At the same time, I thought that she needed to communicate more about Google Summer of Code. It is true that she answered the basic questions, but I think she could have given more details to engage the students in the talk because, as she said, the students who participate in this program are the ones who come up with new ideas and their contribution is important. Professor Danner I believe shared the same curiosity for more details when he asked a question about Linux and the percentage of software that's being released and being used.

In general, I believe her talk was interesting and provided enough general information for the public to understand what open source is and why it is important. On the other hand, I believe she could have done more for the people interested in details about the open source environment.

RAM Comments: Yes. You're right. Her talk was geared for a more general audience. She seemed surprised by how much knowledge of FOSS there was in the audience. I, on the other hand, was proud that our students impressed her with their knowledge of this important, growing field.