AOYUSOI Talks are the The As Of Yesterday Unnamed Series Of Informal Talks -- an informal series of "lectures" (scare quotes intended) hosted at the Acetarium. They occur on the second Friday of each month (more or less). They consist of a lecture and set of lightning talks or projections.
Each night will have a main talk which will be longer form -- up to an hour for talk plus some time for questions and answers. A projector will always be available. Reading materials related the lecture may be available beforehand. After the lecture, there will be a short break and then some lightning talks. Or maybe the other way around. Or maybe some before and some after. Who can predict these things?
The next talk will be by Benjamin Mako Hill and will be titled When Free Software Isn't Better. Here's what Mako says:
- This talk will focus on social science research analyses of free software communities by myself and others. I'm going to use data from a series of different hosting sites to show that that "open source" usually doesn't live up to the hype either in its collaborativeness or in the supposedly inherent superiority that flows from this collaboration. I will also argue that, from the perspective of free software advocates, this does not necessarily need to be bad news!
- I'm going to suggest that even when free software is not superior in ways that some past advocacy has focused on, it offers a series of important philosophical and practical benefits over proprietary software. Moreover, by focusing on what free software sometimes doesn't do well instead of only looking at our community's wild successes, free software developers can build a better understanding of when communities coalesce around projects and when mass collaboration really does happen. This talk will suggest that rather than claiming that free software is better, we should instead set out to attempts to actually make it better.
- Two quick notes:
- The first part of the talk's argument is written up in in this essay published last year in the FSF bulletin. Reading it will give you a flavor for the first part of the argument.
- I'm going as the keynote address at the major free software conference in Turkey the following week. I'm using this as a practice talk and, as a result, I'm really looking for feedback from folks and appreciate folks taking the time to listen and to help me improve it.
- February 11, 2010
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