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Bruce Perens looks a bit disoriented as he comes into the hotel lobby, looking for me. "Anyone here called Sam?" he calls out. The tiredness is evident on his face after the long haul from the US to Australia.


Moments before that I have looked around and, noticing a man pushing what looks like a luggage trolley, turned back to my magazine again as I wait for him to arrive. But then that happens to be Perens, returning the trolley without waiting for the hotel staff to do it for him. There's an air of having done this a million times before as he shakes my hand and we make our way through the lobby, looking for a quiet place to talk.

The primary author of the Open Source Definition, Perens was in Melbourne today en route to Ballarat to attend the 13th Australian national Linux conference where he will be delivering the first keynote on Tuesday. The conference begins on Monday.

About a decade ago, many of the luminaries of the free and open source movement gave animated accounts about the rise of the genre in a film called Revolution OS.

Perens was one among them. There was fire in his eyes, and the passion was evident as he - along with Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman, Linux creator Linus Torvalds, primary Apache developer Brian Behlendorf, and others -  held forth about something which was obviously very dear to his heart.
Bruce Perens
The enthusiasm is still there in 2012. Perens is wiser, older - "I don't have so much hair now," he laughs - but open source is still very much what drives him.

Perens talks freely and with authority about FOSS. But then he has been around for something like 20 years in these circles. "The same tension as existed then between the open source and proprietary genres exists today," he says. "We want to work together with them, we want to build open source software with them. The question is whether we are giving them too much and whether they are giving enough back."

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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