Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Really Final Announcement

A videoconference on "Ethics and Open Source Software" will take place February 9, 2006, from 12:00-2:00 EST (9:00-11:00 PST), under the auspices of NA-CAP. The conference is open to the public, although it is an extension of the August 2005 NA-CAP meeting, where open source issues were discussed with great enthusiasm.

NA-CAP members Scott Dexter and Samir Chopra (both from CUNY Brooklyn) will present the lead paper, "The Ethical Dimensions of Open Source Software," which discusses such topics as intellectual property rights and Richard Stallman's well-known opposition to proprietary software. Other papers may be added (see below). Dexter and Chopra's paper continues the line or reasoning expressed in a previous paper on the aesthetics of Open Source software, which they presented last August at the NA-Cap meeting at Oregon State University (OSU).

The videoconference will have a panel format, in which several philosophers and computer scientists will act as commentators before the discussion is opened to all participants. Persons wishing to present a short paper of their own or to join the panel of commentators, should contact one of the conference coordinators Tom Wren and Matt Butcher, at Loyola University Chicago (twren@luc.edu and mbutche@luc.edu). Persons planning to participate are encouraged to send one of the conference coordinators a short email to that effect so that we can contact you if there are any last-minute changes. The deadline for submitting additional conference papers is February 1st. Accepted papers will be posted in the conference blog at http://oregonstate.edu/osuwrite.

The meeting will be a multipoint videoconference, with nodes located at several universities including Oregon State University (the conference hub), Loyola University Chicago, CUNY Brooklyn, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. If you would like to add your institution to this list, please make the appropriate arrangements with your local videoconferencing staff and then contact the conference coordinators as soon as possible to learn what else needs to be done by way of registering your institution as a conference point. The deadline for completing this process is two weeks before the videocast, i.e., January 25th.

In order to participate in the multipoint video conference, the following information must be received by Tom Wren (twren@luc.edu) by Wednesday January 25, 2005.

1. The name of your institution.

2. The name of at least one main participant.

3. The IP address from which you will join the video conference.

4. The name, phone number, and email address of the technical person in charge of setting up video conferencing at your institution.

If you wish to include a paper or comment relevant to the conference topic, send it in .PDF format to Tom Wren (twren@luc.edu) by Wednesday, February 1, 2005. (note: acceptance of a paper or comment requires that the complete and relevant conference information has already been received).

All of this information is necessary by the deadline in order to join the conference. Late submissions will not be considered. Oregon State University video conferencing services supports the major online video formats, yet we cannot guarantee a match to every institution. We will make every effort to support all participants, but it is possible that some sites cannot be technically supported. Meeting the registration deadline will allow coordination with your local technical staff, affording the best odds for success.

For those who do not have videoconferencing facilities, a live internet broadcast of the conference will be streamed from the OSU server. An online video recording of the conference will also be available afterwards. For further details, including the URL of the broadcast, contact the conference coordinators.

Persons interested in these issues are also encouraged to join in the Open Source blog mentioned above. As of late December the blog includes links to the following items. Others will be added as they come in:

-“What is Free Software?” (by Richard Stallman)

-“Open Source Definition” (by Bruce Perens, et al.)

-“A Comparative Ethical Assessment of Free Software Licensing Schemes” (by S. Dexter and S. Chopra)


Videoconference Date and Time: February 9, 2006, from 12:00-2:00 EST (9:00-11:00 PST)

Sponsoring Organization: NA-CAP, but open to the public

Registration: No cost. Pre-registration (by email to the conference coordinators) is encouraged but not required except that it is the responsibility of videoconference participants to make the appropriate arraignments with their own institutions and the conference coordinators.

Deadlines: The deadline for registering IPs is Jan. 25th. The deadline for submitting papers is Feb. 1st.


1. Conference coordinators: Tom Wren and Matt Butcher (twren@luc.edu& mbutche@luc.edu); tel. 773-508-2303.

2. URLs:

-The "Ethics of Open Source" blog http://oregonstate.edu/osuwrite

-Link to the live webcast of the videoconference: Available at http://oregonstate.edu/osuwrite

-The Loyola Open Source web site: http://www.luc.edu/philosophy/opensource


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