Karen Sandler: Freedom from my heart to the desktop


Jon says:

This is Karen Sandler, the Gnome Foundation's new Executive Director, delivering her keynote speech at OSCon 2011. It is by far and away the best explanation of why software freedom matters that I've heard in a very long time.

It's really interesting to consider, especially in the light of her comments about how many attendees at OSCon were using Apple hardware, and Apple software - Graham and Mike also said they felt Apple users were the majority at the conference.

Software freedom really matters and getting people to use and develop free software is important. But, as Richard Stallman has often said, if we only convince people to use free software because it's technically better, more beautiful or easier to use, then as soon as something that's superior in any of these ways comes along, those users will switch platforms - as have many of the developers at OSCon.

Less people using free software, and less people developing it, is bad for our society. It's bad for people in similar situations to Karen, and it's bad for our democracy when we can no longer trust the result of elections which are carried out on proprietary electronic voting machines.

I'll just add that free software matters in more ways than providing trust in the equipment we use; it also provides us with the opportunity to share our knowledge, our technology and our experiences with other people - something that is almost universally a good thing.

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Your comments

seen it

I've seen this presentation in the oscon live stream and let me praise you for putting this up for everyone to see. Some time ago i trid to find open source lawyers and i actually found them. open source is great and it needs good lawyer to protect it from those evil huge patent trolers :D

The right arguments

These are the right arguments - even though I don't share her enthusiasm for the new Gnome desktop! There was an article on linux.com recently about the E-coli outbreak in Germany and how it was solved very quickly through cooperation between medical researchers from across the world using open source techniques for the first time in a situation like this.

Interesting... Working in


Working in the medical field, I can only see this issue getting bigger in the future.


I'm at a point in my life where I have to decide what to do with it.
I just got my IT degree yesterday and I'm now very, very open to suggestions :)

I believe this will be the road I shall take.
Life has to be open, free...

Hehe, this is a bloody good speech.

Biotroniks Estella DR-T

Hi all,
I'm a pacemaker user myself. Inspired by Karen's talk I've emailed the company asking for the source code used by my Biotroniks Estella DR-T pacemaker. Let's see what they answer.

Not at the crossroads yet -

...but heading towards it for sure. :)

Thanks for this, very interesting. And thanks above for the info about Free as in Freedom podcast. Very cool.

P.S I agree with Karen about Gnome 3. It's proper bo. :)


Security by obscurity! As usual!!


That is one of the best I have ever seen.

OGGCamp also

I saw her present this at OggCamp in Farnham a few weeks ago - superb. Even my 14yr old son was gripped.

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