Keynotes and Invited Talks

OpenSym 2016 is proud to present the following keynotes and invited talks as part of its program.

Adam Blum

Title: Truly Open OER: What the Open Education Movement Can Learn from Open Source’s Success

Abstract: Most OER repositories have been around for more than a decade but the growth rates have been marginal. By contrast open source has become the dominant platform for web development. We believe the primary reason is that OER has not become truly open. A new definition of “open” in OER could be: open source the catalog itself, provide an open API for searching and contributing resources, open universal access to all partners, and openness to paid and free content. We’ll describe how each of these principles will accelerate adoption and impact of OER.

Speaker’s Biography: CEO/CTO/VP Engineering of several successful startups. Formerly adjunct professor at UC Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon. Author of three computer science texts, including first book on web server development. Continually active open source contributor. Now building OpenEd – the largest K-12 resource library and “operating system for personalized learning”, used by many other ed tech companies to provide just the right resource for each student. OpenEd was acquired by ACT in May of this year.

Luis Falcón Martín

Title: GNU Health: A Free/Libre Community-based Health Information System

Abstract: GNU Health is community-based, Free/Libre Health and Hospital Information System, deployed in many countries around the globe. It merges Social Medicine with state of the art advances in bioinformatics, providing a framework for integrative medicine, governments and Public Health institutions as well as research organizations. In this presentation we will talk about case studies in Public health, integration with other Free Software community projects such as OpenStreetMaps, and the upcoming GNU Health Federation model to interconnect large, heterogeneous health networks. We will present some of the upcoming features on GNU Health, including topics on interoperability and standards (HL7 FHIR) or MyGnuHealth, a mobile application for Personal Health. Finally, we will dedicate a section to the GNU Health functionality on bioinformatics, personalized medicine, clinical genetics, big data, and cooperation with the academia, research institutions and multi-lateral organizations.

Speaker’s Biography: Luis Falcón, M.D., B.Sc, holds a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from the California State University, Northridge (USA) and in Medicine from IUCS, Buenos Aires (Argentina). Luis is a social, animal rights and Free Software activist. He is the founder of GNU Solidario, a nonprofit organization that delivers Health and Education with Free Software. Luis is the author of GNU Health (, the award-winning Free/Libre Health and Hospital Information System. He is a guest speaker at national and international conferences about Free Software, eHealth and Social Medicine. He currently lives in the Canary Islands.

Leslie Hawthorn

Title: Good Citizenship is Good Business: Open Source, Sustainable Development and the Corporate Bottom Line

Abstract: This talk examines the current landscape of open source project and enterprise interplay, including the tensions between them. Leslie will demonstrate how models have developed to ease these problematic areas for corporations, but how these new models do not necessarily meet the needs of individual developers. She will conclude with a discussion of how adhering to well-worn approaches to open source software development are not only best practice for corporate players, but provide them with long-term benefits from the perspective of sustainability, employee retention and community good will.

Speaker’s Biography: As an internationally known Developer Relations strategist and Community Management expert, Leslie Hawthorn has spent the past decade creating, cultivating, and enabling open source communities. She’s best known for creating Google Code-in, the world’s first global initiative to involve pre-university students in open source software development, launching the second-most trafficked Google’s Developer Blog, and receiving an O’Reilly Open Source Award in 2010 for her work to grow the Google Summer of Code program and her contributions to Humanitarian open source projects. During her 15 years working in the technology industry, Leslie has developed, honed and shared open source expertise spanning the Enterprise to NGOs, including senior roles at Google, Red Hat, the Open Source Initiative, the OSU Open Source Lab and several startups, including Elastic. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, she and her family now call Amsterdam home, though she travels worldwide to keynote about open source, and building products and teams that are built to last. You can follow her adventures on Twitter @lhawthorn.

Bradley Kuhn

Title: Politics of Cooption in Free and Open Communities

Abstract: Developing software where all users have equal freedom to share, copy, modify and redistribute the software — in a community where all participants are equal — was once an odd fringe activity and cause only of interest to a small group of radical software developers. Today, this mechanism of sharing and collaboration is widely adopted not only by the software industry as a whole, but also by communities doing other collaborative work in areas as wide ranged as developing online encyclopedias, performing astrophysics research, and sharing information about users’ favorite television programs.

As “Open Source” has become a fad, it has been integrated into the larger culture. Furthermore, the software freedom movement has undeniably entered a period of cooption by for-profit companies who seek to exploit the benefits of these sharing communities, but do not necessarily wish to engage as equals with the individual hobbyists who build and foster those communities.

This talk, given by a practitioner who works daily in the politics of software freedom, will explore the current state of this political cooption, ancedotally examine how the political environment has begun to influence the structure of Open Source and Free Software projects, and consider whether these forces are likely to influence other non-software communities who have adopted the methodologies and principles of software freedom for their own work.

Speaker’s Biography: Bradley M. Kuhn is the President and Distinguished Technologist at Software Freedom Conservancy, on the Board of Directors of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), and editor-in-chief of Kuhn began his work in the software freedom movement as a volunteer in 1992, when he became an early adopter of the GNU/Linux operating system, and began contributing to various Free Software projects. He worked during the 1990s as a system administrator and software developer for various companies, and taught AP Computer Science at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati. Kuhn’s non-profit career began in 2000, when he was hired by the FSF. As FSF’s Executive Director from 2001–2005, Kuhn led FSF’s GPL enforcement, launched its Associate Member program, and invented the Affero GPL. Kuhn appointed President of Software Freedom Conservancy in April 2006, was Conservancy’s primary volunteer from 2006–2010, and has been a full-time staffer since early 2011. Kuhn holds a summa cum laude B.S. in Computer Science from Loyola University in Maryland, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati. Kuhn’s Master’s thesis discussed methods for dynamic interoperability of Free Software programming languages. Kuhn received the O’Reilly Open Source Award in 2012, in recognition for his lifelong policy work on copyleft licensing. Kuhn has a blog, is on and co-hosts the audcast, Free as in Freedom.

Ina Schieferdecker

Title: Urban Data Platforms

Abstract: Along the increasing digitization and interconnection in almost every domain in society or business, data is growing exponentially. It is expected that the worldwide Internet traffic will triple until 2020 in comparison to 2015. In the same time, the transmitted data volume will move from 53,2 Exabytes per months to 161 Exabytes per months [Cisco, 2016]. Cities and communities can support the provisioning and usage of urban data and benefit from resulting new services for the monitoring, understanding, decision making, steering, and control. Providing urban data is also supported by the ongoing movement of opening governmental data, but goes beyond. Urban data can include data from public, industrial, scientific or private sources. Yet, the design of urban data is still ongoing and numerous initiatives and standardization efforts on smart cities and communities put the grounds for the uptake and interoperability of urban data

Speaker’s Biography: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ina Schieferdecker is Director of Fraunhofer FOKUS, Berlin, coordinates Open Data and ICT for Smart Cities at that institute and is also professor for Model-Driven Engineering and Quality Assurance of Software-Based Systems at Freie Universität Berlin. Her research interests include urban data platforms, critical infrastructures, networking, conformance, interoperability, security and certification. Schieferdecker received a PhD in electrical engineering from Technical University Berlin. She is President of the ASQF and member of the German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech), IEEE, ACM, and GI. She is member of the Nationale Plattform Zukunftsstadt, of the acatech Working Group Stadt der Zukunft, of the Smart City Network Berlin and of Fraunhofer Morgenstadt.