"Open source" split from "free software" to be more pragmatic, to gain
entry to the business world, partly by being more accepting of
proprietary software. This led to descriptions of free software as
"vegan" and open source as "vegetarian." Let's question this analogy,
and in the process explore how the Tofurky is made, looking at
underlying motivations, ethics, communication, and collaboration.
In Debian, we don't just want to write and package free software or
open source code. We want others to understand *why* we do it. We want
to get along with each other. We want other people to join us in
envisioning a world where our kind of collaborative production is the
norm. At the very least, we want them to think we're not crazy.
The challenges for those committed to our cause can be similar to
those choosing to be vegetarians or vegans -- having to explain why we
won't eat what seems to others to be perfectly good software/food, why
we can only frequent certain restaurants/websites, why we refuse to
serve meat/proprietary software to others. We can be similarly accused
of being judgmental, impractical, idealistic, or "in a phase." Because
many more people are familiar with the concept of dietary restrictions
motivated by concern for animal rights, environmental ethics,
sustainability, and health, this can be fertile ground for analogies
to explain our choices in software and technology.
As we chew the fat, we'll learn more about the diverse motivations
within our movement, leading to both better collaborative potential
among current practitioners and improved recipes for communicating
about what we do to brand new audiences.
Talk (45 mins) session with John Sullivan during Debconf 16