First subject of the Master on Libre Software
After my collaboration to teach systems integration in the Master on Libre Software during last year I decided to enrol me on it this year. I’m pretty sure it will offer me a stronger background to work in the FLOSS world (do not confuse floss with free software or open source software as you can see in the cartoon 😉
I only could attend to a couple of sessions of the first subject called “Introduction to libre software” where Jesús Barahona and Gregorio Robles introduced the key questions that will be developed during the rest of the course. For me the history lesson was really inspiring, I had never looked beyond the 80’s where the software was libre in its beginning . It was also very interesting to hear about the interaction between Stallman and Tanenbaum, when rms ask Tanenbaum to use its compiler as free software. He refused with “No, the university might be free, but the software they develop isn’t” and Stallman created gcc. Tanenbaum wasn’t also very lucky when he discouraged Torlvalds to create a new operating system based in Minix, a few months after he released Linux 0.02 , it was October 1991
One of the exercises we made during these sessions is recommendable for everyone that haven’t read very carefully the OSI and FSF definitions for OSS and free software. Create a Venn diagram with software categorized by license, you could start with: free software, open source software (OSS), open source, Free Open Source Software (FOSS), Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS), freeware, shareware, careware, *ware, libre software, software de fuentes abiertas (SFA, spanish definition), free redistributable software (FRS), ..
Finally the task for the students of this subject are not the typical ones in the university. We have to create the following content:
- collaborative notes of every session
- blog entries about the subject, indeed this is one of them!
- exercises in the forum about controversial cases
- specific report about one of the topic covered in the introduction
- video presentation
As you can see if you are interested in libre software you’ll find the exercises enjoyable.