[Fsfe-ie] What's the point of a free software business event?

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at fsfe.org
Thu Jan 11 13:31:07 CET 2007

I've been talking with Brian Cleland and Paul O'Malley about doing a
Dublin-based follow up to last March's "FOSS Means Business" event.

October is the timeframe we're thinking about, so we have to start now or

This should be the (or a) main topic of January's meeting.  (I missed the
December meeting because my flight was cancelled due to fog - I'll be at
January's and February's meetings)

So I've been thinking about what's the point?  What are the goals?  Who is
the audience?  What speakers are best?

Should we just get the usual speakers, and brief them that they should act
business-like, and then tell the usual mailing lists, and attract the usual
audience (but they will come with the unspoken knowledge that they should
look and act a bit business-like)?  Then we all have an interesting day,
then go home?

Is that it?  Is it really just for us?  Or did we really think companies
would come and would liberate their software the next day?

I don't think companies are going to liberate their software based on any
inspirational event we can organise.  So how does the free software
community get businesses do liberate software?

1. It's by creating a market - by convincing software users not to buy
   non-free software.
2. It's by showing decision makers that free software is not risky, that
   support is available, that it's not going to disappear, and that they
   wouldn't be the first to move to free software.
3. It's by arming our embeds :) -all the free software supports working
   inside companies that use or distribute proprietary software -by arming
   them with the arguments and the examples and case studies necessary to
   make convincing arguments to the decision makers.

Item #1 is what the usual free software events do.  So this kind of event
should be aimed at items #2 and #3.

So, do people agree that both items #2 and #3 are worth aiming for and that
an event can do both?  What speakers have we seen that are good?  What
topics or types of talks are most useful?  Are their goals, other than the
three I've given, that we can aim for?

Ciarán O'Riordan __________________ \ http://fsfeurope.org/projects/gplv3
http://ciaran.compsoc.com/ _________ \  GPLv3 and other work supported by
http://fsfe.org/fellows/ciaran/weblog \   Fellowship: http://www.fsfe.org

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