Max (spevack) wrote,

max talks to the children 2.0

I spent 45 minutes the other day at Shodor Education Foundation. They were having a career day, and they invited 4 people from companies in the Raleigh/Durham area to talk to a group of kids. I would say there were about 30 kids total, ranging from probably 7th grade through early college-age, with most of them in the 8th-11th grade group.

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.
Tags: redhat

  • till we meet again, goodbye

    This blog is now retired. Please visit my new blog. Several of my career changes at Red Hat have been announced on this blog. My first post was…

  • fedora regional support budget summary

    At the end of July, we'll be 5 months (42%) of the way through the fiscal year, which begins each March 1. I thought it would be useful to compare…

  • packaging play-by-play

    Over the weekend, I watched as Paul worked his way through the packaging of Pinpoint, and it got me thinking about what I see as the gap in our…

  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic