OSCON 2011: Legal Basics for Developers talk; wrap-up

By Aaron Williamson | August 16, 2011

OSCON is probably the single largest annual gathering of free software developers in the world, so it’s always a good opportunity for SFLC to catch up with the projects we work with and to make new friends in the community. I only got to spend two days at OSCON 2011, but in that time I met and talked shop (and microbrews and vegan donuts) with lots of folks who are making impressive contributions to free software. I also got to talk about Legal Basics for Developers with Karen Sandler to a fantastic and engaged audience.

The audio and slides from our talk are available in this week’s episode of Free as in Freedom, Karen’s biweekly oggcast with Bradley Kuhn of the Software Freedom Conservancy. While we didn’t get through nearly all of the topics on the slides, we talked about fundamental trademark, copyright, and corporate issues that all free software developers should be aware of. We also answered some excellent and challenging questions from the audience; we didn’t have the foresight to repeat those questions, so they’re not audible on the recording, but even so our answers should be understandable and informative.

It was a busy week for my co-presenter Karen: she was given an Open Source Award for her excellent work at SFLC and the GNOME Foundation and she gave an superb keynote speech about her advocacy work related to medical devices software, GNOME 3, and the importance of software user freedom. Karen has been a great colleague and mentor to me at SFLC and I’m thrilled to see her work recognized.

In addition to my talk with Karen, I had the pleasure of meeting (among many others) Matthew Garrett (Linux power management hacker and GPL activist) and David Mirza and Bruce Leidl of Subgraph (a Montreal startup building Vega, a free software website security-testing framework), trading notes with Van Lindberg (a very sharp free software lawyers in private practice), and of course trolling the usual suspects. And I fell deeper in love with Portland, OR, where OSCON returned in 2010 after O’Reilly was duly reprimanded for holding OSCON 2009 in dull San Jose.

Thanks to everyone who came to the talk and to O’Reilly for accepting our talk and hosting a great event! I’m already looking forward to next year.

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