Todor Mitev - Leslie Hawthorn Talk

The talk Leslie Hawthorn gave helped spread the idea of FOSS a lot better at Trinity. The two classes CPSC 225 and CPSC 110, were probably already aware of almost all information during the talk, but I think Leslie managed to convey the message in front of a broader audience. Her presentation included most of the key aspects of the FOSS movement, and she described the whole idea behind it quite well. Leslie managed to make open source software a lot more attractive to the group of people present in the hall. I really enjoyed how she described the Google Summer of Code project, because she actually made it seem possible that anyone could apply and still have a chance to be accepted into the program. During the dinner right before the talk, she also spoke about the interviews at Google, and somehow managed to make the idea of applying for a job at Google seem a lot more plausible.

Leslie was also very successful at describing the motivation behind Richard Stallman’s work, and its differences from the open source initiative. She, as a part of the OSI, more than the FSF, emphasized mainly on the practical value of free and open source software, and one of the examples she gave was that all of Google’s servers run on Linux, which makes them very cost-effective. She continued by describing another rather unusual practice at Google – treating their employees as happy as possible. The example she gave was – why not have the smart person who works for get the soda he/she wants for free instead of wasting time going to the store down the road. This is one of the reasons why Google are among the companies who get the best employee satisfaction reviews.

Overall, Leslie Hawthorn’s talk made the whole idea of FOSS looks very attractive, and I think it has done miracles in changing the perception about Google, and the geeks who work there.


RAM Comments: Indeed, Google's summer-of-code program is something our students should consider. It is very competitive but certainly not out of reach. We are trying to model our summer internship program after it and we support many of the same projects, including Sahana and OpenMRS. Hopefully you'll be taking a look at it as you make your own summer plans: http://www.hfoss.org/index.php?page=hfoss-summer-institute.