Linux.conf.au 2017 – Friday Keynote – Robert Lefkowitz

Keeping Linux Great

  • Previous Keynotes have posed question I’ll pose answers
  • What is the free of open source software, it has no future
  • FLOSS is yesterday’s gravy
    • Based on where the technology is today. How would FLOSS work with punch cards?
    • Other people have said similar things
    • Software, Linux and similar all going down in google trends
    • But “app” is going up
  • Lithification
    • Small pieces losely joined
    • Linux used to be great could you could pipe stuff to little programs
    • That is what is happening to software
    • Example – share a page to another app in a mobile interface
    • All apps no longer need to send mail, they just have to talk to the mail app
  • So What should you do?
    • Vendor all you dependencies, just copy everyone elses code into your repo (and list their names if it is BSD) so you can ship everything in one blob (eg Android)
      • Components must be 5> million or >20 LOC , only a handful or them
      • At the other end apps are smaller since they can depend on the OS or other Apps for lots of functionality so they don’t have to write it themselves.
      • Example node with thousands of dependencies
  • App Freedom
    • “Advanced programming environments conflate the runtime with the devtime” – Bret Victor
    • Open Source software rarely does that
    • “It turns out that Object Orientation didn’t work out, it is another legacy with are stuck with”
    • Having the source code is nice but it is not a requirement. Access to the runtime is what you want. You need to get it where people are using it.
  • Liberal Software
  • But not everything wasn’t to be a programmer
    • 75% comes from 6 generic web applications ( collection, storage, reservation, etc)
  • A lot of functionality requires big data or huge amounts of machines or is centralised so open sourcing the software doesn’t do anything useful
  • If it was useful it could be patented, if it was not useful but literary then it was just copyright