Present and future threats to software freedom

Dr. Roy Schestowitz

University of Manchester

The freedom of the software we use constantly faces challenges that one must recognise in order to address them. In this presentation, several of them are highlighted and few examples are given.
Minimalist slides to avoid distraction and encourage more interactions Do interrupt the speaker shall questions arise
Today we are taking technical considerations mostly off the table
Realisation that technical merits alone do not guarantee a win

Themes of challenges (with intersections between them):

1. Legal framework

2. Software philosophy

3. Competition


Legal framework

Overview - ctd.

Software philosophy

Overview - ctd.


Government legislation

Transnational treaties

DMCA - stifles reverse-engineering, access to media, backup, sharing, hacking

ACTA - copyright, patents, and potentially Internet users tracking (grouped together with fight on fake medicine)

Software patents

Pyramid schemes

Software patents - ctd.

Patent deals

Examples of patent cases against Linux

Role of Novell

Role of Novell - ctd.



Business paradigms

Source code Misconceptions



Legacy systems/lock-in

Conflicts of interests

Barrier Example #1

Subscription as obligatory part of business model - "enterprise" and "community" edition

Proprietary prerequisites

Barrier Example #2

"Lies, damned lies, and statistics"

Barrier Example #3

Kickbacks, MoU ("Project Marshal")

Barrier Example #4

"They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."

-Bill Gates

"It's easier for our software to compete with Linux when there's piracy than when there's not."

-Bill Gates

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Take-home messages accumulates and organises information, initiatives awareness campaigns