Getting Started with Open Source

There is a wealth of free and open source software (FOSS) out there. Chances are, whatever you want to do with software, there is FOSS out there to help you do it. You might want to look at how others are using open source, in the CaseStudies. And the NZOSS itself has a project to help educational institutions move to open source, the EducationGroup.

What are Open Standards?

With the rise of the internet it has becoming ever more important that digital data can be exchanged freely among people, no matter where they are, how much money they have or what language they speak. While this sounds like a natural idea, it is far from widely accepted among proprietary software developers, many of whom seek to control their consumers through vendor lock in, i.e. the process of using restricted, undocumented or patented data formats to ensure that users find it very difficult to switch to alternative applications or systems.

What is Open Source Software?

Open Source Software - or more precisely "Free and Open Source Software" (often abbreviated as FOSS) is computer software that provides its users with specific freedoms that are not usually available with proprietary software. There are various subtly different interpretations of what these freedoms should be - these are formalised in the definitions provided by two major groups:

Debating Software Patents with Brett Roberts

On the day before the Software Patent Debate Igor and I got some bad news. The lawyer who had said he would be able to present for the Pro Patent position would be unable to attend the debate. We needed to find someone credible, someone knowledgeable, someone who could put on a show. And we needed someone at almost the last minute. Despite impossible odds Igor thought of the perfect person; Brett Roberts, former Platform Manager, strategist and my long time and good natured protagonist. Thanks to the magic of modern communications in short order we had secured Brett as our debating opponent.

The Great Software Patents Debate

The University of Auckland IEEE Student Branch is proud to present the public Software Patents Debate on Friday 15th of October. If you're a programmer, this debate is for you. It will debate the issue of whether or not software should be patentable. It's important to come to this debate because the Patents Bill reform currently before Parliament. It affects everyone, from budding programmers to large multinational companies (think Microsoft).

The moot will be: "This house should disallow software patents in New Zealand".