It was a great time -- much more fun, and rewarding, than almost any talk I've given about Fedora to adults.
I started off by getting a general show of hands -- who had heard of Free or Open Source software? About 2/3 of the kids. Who had heard of Red Hat? About 1/2 the kids. Fedora? About 1/3 of the kids. Anyone actually use Fedora? About 5 or 6 kids used it, and it turns out Fedora 7 was installed on several of the computers in their classrooms and labs.
I started off my talk by giving a brief history of myself -- how old I am, how long I'd been with Red Hat, that I was a computer science major in college. And then we started talking about free software. I did it in a pretty interactive format, and ultimately sort of just was the moderator in a discussion that the kids were having with each other.
We talked about what free software means. Free in terms of cost, and free in terms of the 4 FSF freedoms. Freedom to run a program anywhere. Freedom to study the source code. Freedom to redistribute. And freedom to modify the code.
A couple of the kids gave a superb definition of what upstream versus downstream means in the software world. I was asked about the Red Hat business model and how we make money. I was asked about how we maintain the integrity and quality of our code when anyone in the world can contribute. I was asked about the differences between Red Hat and Microsoft.
It was a good time -- filled me with hope about the next generation of free software contributors. And since I was already up in Durham, I met up with Seth afterward and we had lunch.