What can free software learn from classical music?
Programming & composition share countless traits, including being puzzle-based methods of self-expression as well as the contradictions of being artistic yet technical, collaborative yet individualistic and both can never be "perfected".
It should therefore not be too surprising that that the old world of classical music has many things in common with the free software movement of today: not only did composers of the past freely remix the works of others every subsequent performance and recording day could be considered a "derived work"...
But what can we learn today from the wild world of pre-copyright classical music? What mistakes did they make? What did classical music — as performed & composed in the past — appear to get right that we could emulate?
In this provocative and non-technical talk you will not only learn about how the lack of copyright enforcement or efficient distribution of music affected what was commissioned, composed & performed, you will also discover possible parallels to modern concepts of patents and trademarks.
In addition, we will explore how the classical world was subject to many social factors we would easily recognise today including Imposter Syndrome, issues around diversity, the role of money, patronage, hoarding and standardisation… as well as ever-present psychological factors of fame, dogma and how limitations continue to shape our world.
Currently Project Leader of the Debian GNU/Linux project and a member of Board of Directors for the Open Source Initiative, Chris is a freelance computer programmer, author of dozens of free-software projects and contributor to 100s of others.
He has been official Debian Developer since 2008 and is currently highly active in the Reproducible Builds sub-project. In his spare time he is an avid classical musician.
Chris has spoken at numerous conferences including LinuxCon China, HKOSCon, linux.conf.au, DjangoCon Europe, LibrePlanet, OSCAL, All Things Open, SCALE, Software Freedom Kosovo, #freenode Live, DebConf, FOSS'ASIA, as well as given guest lectures at New York University Tandon School of Engineering and Cambridge University.