FOSDEM 2020

Why GPL is great for business? Customer are happier with fair options that avoid lock-ins.

The Free and Open Source Developers meeting in Brussels at the ULB Solbosch campus. It is a non-commercial, volunteer-organized European event centered on free and open-source software development. It is aimed at developers and anyone interested in the free and open-source software movement. It aims to enable developers to meet and to promote the awareness and use of free and open-source software.  FOSDEM is held annually, usually during the first weekend of February, at the Université Libre de Bruxelles Solbosch campus. It is a very large event which brings together over 8000 people in presence and tens of thousands more online. Open-AE was there was even managed to present their intiative at a Lightning talk. Prior to the FOSDEM event there is also a pre-FOSDEM event.

However outside of the Open-ae project presentation there were many great events and talk organised.

A lightning talk prior to the Open-AE presentation was on Linux desktops in Finnish schools. All students in Finland who complete their matriculation exams which are now delivered online must use Debian software and buy linux compatible hardware to take their final examination. While the martriculation exam software is still proprietary is does require free and open-source software to run.

Another interesting talk was on how GNU General Public License(GPL) a free, copyleft license is good for business. The talk by Frank Karlitschek gave an overview of the four freedoms, and how businesses can earn money while respecting these freedoms. The methods involved selling certificates and trademark use, selling services (like wordpress), selling merchandise, being funded through a foundation, voluntary donation, crowdsourcing, advertisements and delayed open source (where paying customers get the latest version). Karlitschek argued the best format for GPL as a business model was under support subscriptions which are provided by companies like red hat and nextcloud.

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