Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Audio of Richard Stallman keynote at useR2010

useR 2010 Conference
The topic of open source and free software licensing can be a very confusing topic.  In the Operations Research world it is no different.  There are a lot of players in the mathematical programming software world that are vying for attention that include both proprietary and free software.  Insight into the world of free software really requires immersion into using the free software products and finding how it can apply to daily application.  Another good way to understand free software is to get it from the founders of the movement.  Richard Stallman is considered the father of the free software movement and you can find a lot of good material online based on his work.  The useR2010 conference, the annual conference for R project for statistical computing, just completed this past week and the final keynote was given by Richard Stallman.

The R-statistics blog was kind enough to post an audio of the keynote address by Richard Stallman at useR2010.  Richard is not your typical stereotype of a computer geek.  He may look the part but Richard does not pull any punches in his presentation of the free software movement and it's ideology.  Richard's talk discusses the history of the free software movement, the Gnu Public License, and his history of dealing with free software. 

Why was Richard giving the keynote address when he doesn't have a statistics background?  Well the R statistical computing software platform is licensed under the GPL, Gnu Public License.  R is free to use, distrubute, modify and improve as long as it's code is given credit to it's creator.  This is much of what the GPL represents.  Listen to the audio by Richard to really understand his passion for free software and what it means to him and the software world.

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