I was scheduled to give a talk at FOSSsumMIT 2104 jointly organised by PLUG & MIT. A few conditions were put down by the organisers at the last minute. I did not agree with them and have hence cancelled my scheduled talk/presentation.

Conditions put down:

  1. Presentations to use open format(Open Office,Libre Office,LaTex, beamer etc)
  2. The presentation should be made available to us under Creative Commons or Compliant license.
  3. Use an operating system which is under Open Source License (OSL).

Since the conference is a technical conference and the primary audience would be engineering students. I was not interested in showing code via a slide deck. No slide deck, hence conditions 1 & 2 become null & void.

I was to present code, written in Python & via the IPython Notebook. (This code will be published soon, via github under an appropriate OSL.)

I use a MacBook Pro, running a version of Mac OS X operating system, for my day to day work. But, obviously, I used the same to write & prepare my code for the presentation. Since I was to demo code, I was not very comfortable running the same code on a different machine. Library version errors alway creep in and make a mess of the presentation.

Flashback:

In February, this year, I gave a talk at GNUify 2014, jointly organised by PLUG & Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research. This too was a technical conference, so no slide deck. Only live code to show.

After I reached the venue, I was informed that only ‘Operating Systems’ licensed under ‘OSL’ can be used to make the presentation.

As part of my presentation, I had planned to demo a software (under OSL). I had close to 30-40 GB of data, fed into the software, since I was using it for a client project (Client data was from public domain, govt. data. Had taken explicit permission from the client to use part of the data in the presentation). The code was written in Python and executed via IPython Notebook.

After a little persuasion, I agreed to use a computer running some flavour of linux and moved my Python Code to the machine. The software demo was cancelled, since it did not make sense to move 30-40GB of data.

Lo & behold, some library version was different and chunks of code refused to work. Essentially, the presentation was a fiasco, half the content had to be scrapped and parts of the remaining presentation did not work as expected!

Back to the present:

This time, I am in no mood to debug library version issues at runtime.

I personally feel, this is a non-issue and has got nothing to do with the spirit of Free Open Source Software (FOSS). Secondly, if I agree to use a FOSS compliant OS for the presentation and go back home to use a proprietary OS, it would be symbolism.

I don’t support symbolism!

EDIT : Code available on my GitHub account.