Speaker Interview: Tom Callaway

If Tom Callaway can prevent one more license from being written as a result of his talk, "it will be a good thing for the universe." Tom gives his presentation, "Understanding FOSS Licenses (without a lawyer)," during Saturday SCALE 13x at 6. The SCALE Team caught up with him to talk about licenses.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?


A: Hi! My name is Tom Callaway, but my friends call me spot. I've been at Red Hat since 2001, and a Fedora contributor since day 0. Currently, I work on University Outreach, Gluster, and 3d printing. Previously. I was the Fedora Engineering Manager for 7 years. I also helped draft the Fedora Packaging Guidelines, and am responsible for Fedora Legal. Oh, and I am the co-author of "Raspberry Pi Hacks". I hack things for fun.


Q: You're giving a talk on Understanding FOSS Licenses (without a lawyer). Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?


A: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes... The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together ... mass hysteria!


Ahem. Lemme try that again.


Free Software and Open Source all depend on clever legal hacks called licenses. Despite this fact, lots of people in our FOSS universe do not properly understand licensing. I've spent a lot of time looking at licenses, so I thought it would be good to share some of my knowledge with everyone else. Plus, if my talk manages to prevent just one person from writing a new license, it will be a good thing for the universe.


Q: Is this your first visit to SCALE? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?


A: I've been going to SCALE for five years now (I think I missed one in there), and it's always been a fantastic experience. Its a great opportunity to learn firsthand what is going on and be able to interact with a lot of passionate intelligent people. I remember sitting in the lobby at my very first SCALE having an amazing conversations with total strangers. The quality of the talks is always high, and there is always more things to see than I could possibly manage. If only my TARDIS was working...


Q: Who else should I see while I'm at SCALE this year?


A: That's a great question! There are so many excellent speakers, but the following people have bribed me... You should make sure you don't miss Ruth Suehle's keynote, she never disappoints. John Hawley always has the coolest geek toys to show off, and my buddy Gina Likins has a very clever set of ideas on how we can be more awesome to each other. Brian Proffit is trying to start a Nerd civil war, and Joe Brockmeier is going to make all of my Fedora packaging efforts irrelevant.


But no matter what you do, do not miss Weakest Geek this year. I have it on good authority that THERE WILL BE BLOOD.


[SCALE Team interview by Larry Cafiero]