Liberating Web Services
Location: The Moscone Center, Howard Street, between 3rd and 4th Streets, San Francisco, CA http://www.moscone.com/attendees/directions/index.shtml. The last decade has witnessed a rise in the role of computing as a service, a massive increase in the use of web applications, the migration of personal computing tasks to data-centers, and the creation of new classes of service-based applications. These shifts have raised a host of important questions for the advocates of free software. For example, by separating use and distribution of software, these models have in some cases reduced the effectiveness of GNU GPL-style copyleft which treat modified web applications as if they were private software. Much more importantly, the movement of software off of personal computers has reconfigured power relationships between users and their software and complicated questions of ownership and control in ways that free software advocates do not yet know how to address. What does freedom mean for the users and developers of web services? What is at risk? What should the free software community, and the Free Software Foundation, do to ensure that software, and its users, stay free in this new technological environment? These questions and more will be discussed. The FSF is committed to protecting computer users' freedom, and always has been. Last year saw the release of the GNU AGPL, a license that requires service providers to provide the source for applications that users interact with over a network. While this is a helpful option for developers concerned about this use case, it doesn't guarantee users' freedom, and so the FSF plans to begin talking very directly about how web services affect us all. This summit will discuss the establishment of goals for a campaign to address the issue more comprehensively, and suggest some first steps for taking action.