Creating a Third Wave of Free/Open Source Software

Accepted Session
Scheduled: Thursday, June 23, 2016 from 9:00 – 9:45am in Sanctuary


The free/open source software movement is over thirty years old, and has gone through a number of changes in that time, spawning projects large and small (including OpenConferenceWare, which runs this site!). If Free Software is the first generation, and Open Source is the second, current efforts toward creating an inclusive and sustainable world make up a third generation that we can start to form into a broader plan.


In thirty years, free/open source software has gone from being an ideological challenger fighting the mainstream software industry, to being a central part of nearly all software currently released. How did we get here? Does that mean the FOSS movement won?

We’ll step through the historical context of the formation of the Free Software Foundation, which created the GNU General Public License that all other open source licenses grew from, to the ways that the aims of the Open Source Initiative shifted that movement into an explicitly for-profit corporate direction, and how these directives have led to certain crises around the use of unpaid labor, the failure of the “meritocracy”, and critical infrastructure being underfunded.

The talk will conclude by talking about the most promising aspects of the emerging third wave movement, including efforts to build software in the open in a way that supports all contributors, and to address long-standing sources of social homogeneity and inequality.


software, history, labor, business, capitalism

Speaking experience

I have spoken at Open Source Bridge several times. My most recent talk was at Open Source and Feelings:


Leave a private comment to organizers about this proposal