Freedom vs Sustainable Business: A Candid Necessary Debate
03-05, 12:10–12:50 (Europe/Berlin), Stage Auditorium

The interplay between freedom, business sustainability, and open source models confronts a pivotal moment. In this debate panel we will explore licenses types, business models and open source sustainability in a candid needed manner as a way to improve ethics, sustainability and community

Open source software, the bedrock of innovation and collaboration in the modern software industry, faces a critical juncture as the interplay between freedom, sustainable business models and sustainable open source models becomes increasingly complex. The choice of open source license, once considered a technical decision, now carries profound ethical and legal implications, impacting its community, its development, distribution, and usage.

This discussion panel will explore the current landscape of open source licenses - from permissive, ethical, dual and business-source, examining the impact of recent developments and changes on individual developers, communities, and its effects on society. Through a debate-style format, panelists will engage in a discussion on the following topics:

1) The ethical implications of different open source license types: the ethical considerations surrounding copyleft, permissive, and hybrid licenses, examining the impact of license choices on the freedom to modify, distribute, and build upon open source software.

2) The impact of license changes on existing software projects and communities: the challenges and opportunities presented by license changes, discussing the ethical implications of altering the terms of existing open source projects and the potential impact on communities of developers and users.

3) The role of open source licenses in addressing issues of intellectual property, copyright, and fair use: explore the legal and ethical complexities surrounding open source licenses, examining how different license types address issues of intellectual property, copyright, and fair use in the context of open source software development and utilization.

4) The ethical considerations of using open source software in commercial products: discuss the ethical implications of incorporating open source software into commercial products, examining the balance between leveraging open source contributions and ensuring fair compensation for developers and contributors.

5) Real cases to have a candid conversation from both sides: Recent news and changes on companies like HashiCorp and Red Hat can be analyzed and the implications can be explored in a non defensive or offensive way, favoring dialogue and deepening the discussion

6) Balancing open source principles with sustainable business models: the challenges faced by companies in balancing the principles of open source with the financial realities of running a business, examining the need for sustainable business models that support the development and maintenance of open-source projects.

This panel will provide a platform for open and honest dialogue on the ethical complexities of open source licenses, fostering a deeper understanding of the ethical implications of our technological choices. By engaging in this discussion, we can collectively work towards developing a more ethical and responsible approach to open source software development and use, ensuring that open source remains a force for innovation, collaboration, and societal benefit.

*I'll be mediating the debate. I will invite 3 panelists who will be prepared for the debate. The choice of panelists will depend on people who confirm their presence at the event, either because they have tickets or are confirmed speakers. In this way, we can avoid extra costs for production and/or panelists

**Debate rules will also be put in place to encourage honest and non-inflammatory discussions, since the proposal is to deepen discussions in a safe space.

Thomas Steenbergen helps organizations manage open source in a strategic and efficient manner that meets their business needs. Previously he was the Head of Open Source Program Office at EPAM Systems and HERE Technologies. He is maintainer of OSS Review Toolkit, SPDX, TODO group and a regular contributor to FINOS's Open Source Readiness and OpenChain. He is a frequent speaker and panelist at various global open source conferences and is always happy to start a conversation around anything open source. See also for contact and project details.

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Dr Lina Boecker is a well experienced lawyer for information technology (IT) law and one of the few experts in the field of open-source-software (OSS) compliance. She advises a broad range of clients from software developers to international OEMs and public research institutions on all aspects of IT-law.

Lina was admitted to the bar in 2011. After having spent nine years (thereof more than five years as a partner) at a Berlin based boutique law firm for IT law, she joined Osborne Clarke as a partner in 2022.

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Meet Paloma Oliveira, a dedicated FLOSS advocate since 2009. In 2020, she joined the Sauce Labs team in OSPO and is now a Growth Engineer. During her free time, she’s a wholehearted explorer, critically thinking of code as a tool to reshape a better future for all while promoting equity and accessibility. Paloma also finds fulfillment in co-organizing PyLadies Berlin, offering guidance at FrauenLoop, and co-founding Berlin’s Center for Netart.

Fiona Krakenbürger is one of the co-founders of the Sovereign Tech Fund. The Sovereign Tech Fund supports the development, improvement, and maintenance of open digital infrastructure in the public interest. Fiona has a background in Open Source Funding and has helped bootstrap and implement Programs in Germany and the US. Besides her career in Open Source Funding, Fiona supported and founded various initiatives for more diversity in tech communities. She serves on various committees and boards in the tech and Open Source sector.