I’ve just got back from Harvard University Extension School where I was a guest speaker for a systems administration class. I’ve attached the 6 quick slides I used to support my presentation, but the main meat was in what I said and in the questions I answered.
I was there to talk about Gnu/Linux and Ubuntu, about the stack of software and each project and so on. Interestingly, before the class began I didn’t know that 5 of the students present were actually existing Windows admins and the meat of my talk was trying to focuse on aspects of the industry that they might not have been exposed to yet. Things like Free and Open Source principles, the history of it, why Linux and Gnu projects exist and how it works economically.
I even showed them launchpad bug #1 when explaining why Mark would want to invest so much money into Ubuntu as a project and because of a few of the questions we did get to talk about a couple of the misdeeds of Microsoft and why any monopoly abuse is bad for business (Novell, Samaba, IE were all topics).
Some of what I was explaining was around control. You want to control your technology right? Well if you don’t have access to the code, if you don’t have a license that permits you some freedom with that code. Then you have very little control over all and you certainly can’t find alternative suppliers to develop new functionality into existing products.
We also touched upon open standards and data formats (i.e QuickBooks bad) and it wasn’t until afterwards that I was told that I’d been speaking to Microsofties… actually they were pretty good and I didn’t spot any funny looks even when I slagged Microsoft off.
I do seem to be doing too many talks these days for a programmer/community persona and I don’t think I’m even that good at it, but people keep on asking me to do them.