Head of Developer Engagement at Mozilla, as well as the president and founder of Kids on Computers, Stormy Peters is well-known as an advocate for open source software development, which she discussed during her presentation at CU’s ATLAS Speaker Series Monday evening.
Speakers on information technology are brought to campus about once a month by CU’s Technology, Arts & Media Program, which opens the technological community, as well as networking opportunities, to students on campus. At Monday’s presentation, Peters spoke on open source software, which enables public users to access, modify and share a program’s source code, essentially allowing community development of the program. GIMP image editing software and Mozilla’s Firefox web browser are worthy examples of the software.
Stormy Peters, an open source advocate of Mozilla, addresses the crowd during her talk, “How Open Source Software is Changing Technology.” (James Bradbury/CU Independent)
The first half of the presentation was spent going over modern open source softwares and hardwares such as Linux, Apache, and Raspberry Pi. The presentation was reminiscent of a standard class lecture, and the lecturer was quite clear of her opinions of these softwares, referring to them as the creations of “dreamers and believers.”
“Their community is a community of ants,” Peters said of Apple users, calling them consumers and not thinkers. Her reasoning was based on Apple’s lack of open softwares.
Audience members voiced concern of people “stealing” open source software circulated the room throughout Peters’ discussion of its future. A heated debate broke out over whether it is realistic to use open source software, or if it is simply offering ideas for free. Yet, there was no conclusion, and only more questions were raised.
CU’s online hub for class resources, D2L, came up when some members of the audience asked if it would be possible to create a replacement for the program entirely in-house, thereby creating an open source software for other universities to use.
Other members argued that there was no point in even attempting a program completely developed in the public sphere to replace D2L, as though doing so would break an industry standard.
“Why would anyone care?” One member of the audience asked. “What is the motivation to even do this?”
Peters’ presentation opened dialogue between students and professors to discuss their opinions on a hot topic in the world of technological communication, which fostered a positive, collaborative environment. The presentation played to a crowd engaged in technology education.
The next Speaker Series will take place on Feb. 25 and cover “Women and the Web,” presented by Renee Wittemyer, the director of social impact at Intel’s Corporate Responsibility Office.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Anna Cook at Anna.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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