Deb Nicholson

Accepted Talks:

Software Patents Around the World

Citizens of earth, do we really want to police a global unified approach to “intellectual property?” How would a global agreement on what can be owned and what rights ownership should bestow affect coders and inventors? If you’ve ever spent a sleepless night wondering about the kind of world we are leaving the next generation of innovators… from an international policy perspective then this talk is for you.

Confusion and near constant change sounds like a nightmare for international companies or projects, but it just might be that this uncertainty is exactly what holds space for technologies that creatively serve emerging needs or niche populations. Patent maximalism and perfect global harmonization around patents and copyrights certainly has many (often vocal and prolific) proponents. Meanwhile, another conversation is happening around whether the needs of local markets and communal projects with fewer resources might not be better served by a much more multi-faceted approach.

This talk takes a look at what’s happening technologically in several different markets and what the current level of sympathy (or antipathy) is for globally mandated standards. So, join me for a patent-focused tour around the world and a few ideas about where the global conversation may be headed.

All ages: How to build a movement

Deborah Nicholson and Molly de Blanc want the free software movement to keep growing and one facet of successful movement building is embracing a multi-generational community. The good news is that there is no age requirement for using, promoting and contributing to free software. The bad news is that we aren’t always doing a great job of facilitating a diverse, inter-generational movement. We’ll take a look at what we’re currently doing to bring in young people, how we are treating older people in our communities and where there is room for improvement.

Using examples from other movements and inter-generational communities, we’ll identify tactics that aren’t being used to build the free software community and see what we can collectively port over. We plan to inspire the audience to find ways to recruit and retain young people, inspire older people to participate and maintain an unbroken thread of free software conservatorship.

This session is accessible to anyone with a general knowledge of what free software is, and that open contribution communities power many free software projects.

Passing the Torch: The Future of Free Software

The free software community has created a tremendously valuable resource and built an amazing community, now we just need to make sure that it lives on forever. Ideas that have lasting power thrive inside communities that take care of themselves and plan for growth. New members are valued and time is spent to bring them in and teach them the core values that underpin the work. Successful organizations also pay attention to the world around them. They either work to shape changes to their benefit or they adapt to the things they can’t affect or don’t want to affect.

Many communities have created long-lasting endeavors based on shared values and we can too. We have to be willing to arrange our work so that we are always looking to the future. Our tools and our tactics must match our desire to build a movement that will be around for decades – possibly even centuries – to come. By constantly and conscientiously passing the torch, we make sure that those who will come after us will be able to joyfully continue the work we’ve started.