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The Technical Side of Open Source

This session is designed to address five distinct technical issues surrounding Open Source: (1) reliability: How reliable is Open Source software itself, and how robust is the Open Source approach to developing software? (2) security: Is secure software better achieved through secrecy or through openness? (3) development processes: What challenges are there in managing a large, disparate team of unpaid contributors? (4) customizability: Is Open Source software more adaptable to different contexts and different user needs than proprietary software? (5) usability: Is usability really the major weakness of Open Source software?

Confirmed speakers for this panel are:

Paul Buck is the director of Java platform strategy at IBM. His leadership guided the release of the Eclipse Platform and formation of the eclipse.org open-source community. He was also involved in a number of IBM donations to the open-source community including XML parser technology and Unicode internationalization support. His career has been dedicated to advancing software application development and supporting the community of software developers.

Nancy Frishberg is part of the User Centered Software Design department at Sun Microsystems. With Sun's team working on the GNOME desktop, she sponsored one of the few usability tests of open source software published to date. Her prior experience includes roles in marketing, engineering, and research at Apple Computer and IBM. Her publications span historical linguistics, sign language literature, multimedia and usability engineering.

Brent Gorda is the group lead for the Future Technologies group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His past experience includes parallel and distributed computing work at Livermore, technical consulting at Los Alamos and for several corporations in the SanFrancisco Bay Area.

Jim Herbsleb is an Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and a senior member of the technical staff of the Software Engineering Institute. For the past 10 years, he has conducted research in the areas of collaborative software engineering, human-computer interaction, and computer supported cooperative work. Recently, his work has focused on collaboration technology to support large globally distributed projects.