Open Source is Not The Infrastructure of Modern Society…

Cloud services are the actual infrastructure. Open source is the blueprints and building materials of our digital infrastructure. Infrastructure should be built from open source, but it is important to understand the difference between software and a service, because there is a person in the middle, the one operating the service. There will be no digital sovereignty just with open source, only with transparent services. The combination creates the necessary infrastructure and resulting sovereignty.

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Whose Open Source Freedom is it Anyway?

It is 2021 and there is still a lot of fighting about “freedom” in open source software development. Here is an analytical breakdown of the issues.

Freedom can refer to people or artifacts (source code). When it refers to people, it is typically freedom of choice regarding what to do. There are three main roles in open source: The original programmer, an intermediary (another programmer or a software vendor), and the users or customers of the vendor. I’m simplifying, but this matches the distribution use-case in which license clauses put the most obligations on people.

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Open Source and Public Policy (Video)

In this short video, I explain the significance of the software industry for a country’s economy and how to strengthen it using open source. It is directed at public policy makers and the general public.

Next to the Youtube embed, there is also an ad-free version courtesy of FAU, my main employer, as well as a simple download available. Fast forward to the slides as well.

Open Source im Blickpunkt der Politik (Video, in German)

In diesem kurzen Video erkläre ich die Bedeutung der Softwareindustrie für die Wirtschaft eines Landes und wie Open-Source-Software diese stärken kann. Es richtet sich an Public-Policy-Maker und alle interessierten Personen.

Die englische Version dieses Videos folgt; die Folien wurden vom FAU Sprachdienst aus dem Englischen ins Deutsche übersetzt (und von mir nachkorrigiert).

Neben obigem Youtube embed gibt es eine werbefreie Version auf der FAU Website sowie eine runterladbare Datei.

The slides are also available (English only).

Digital Sovereignty for Germany?

Last week the German government published a commissioned study on how it depends on software and services vendors (local copy). The day after the publication, Cathrin Schaer of ZDnet called to ask for my thoughts on the study and digital sovereignty for Germany: Is it even possible? Cathrin’s resulting article picked up some of our discussion, but I wanted to take the time here to elaborate on my thoughts.

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Position Statement on the Use of ML / KI Techniques in Software Engineering For the adesso Hochschulbeirat

I just submitted the following short position statement on how to work with ML / KI techniques in software engineering. This is a statement on using such techniques for the engineering of software, not in the software itself, which is a (not completely, but mostly) separate issue.

ML / KI techniques can be use in software development to assist the human engineer. Properly applied, they can make engineers more productive by helping them focus on understanding and solving the human problem behind the software to be developed (essential complexity) and by freeing them from getting distracted by technical implementation details (accidental complexity).

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