Aneesh Chopra is the first US Federal Chief Technology Officer. He’s 37 years old, a Harvard graduate, a successful CTO at the state level, and an American of Indian origin. A crescendo of praise for this new star is rising. But it is also raising up every technology leader’s wish-list for fresh consideration by the top US technology policy and implementation machinery. From big bloggers like Tim O’Reilly to Intel’s Craig Barrett to VC Vinod Khosla, everyone has admiration… and expectations.
Mr. Chopra is reported to understand the power of today’s new trends in the technology ecosystem – collaboration, open content and the Internet. He‘s in a position to make wise choices among competing IT agendas, where both action and vision matter. Let’s hope he applies the best information technologies to the real problems he’s mandated to solve. For the benefit of all of us.
Bram Cohen, creator of BitTorrent has been organizing a peer-to-peer applications unconference named “CodeCon” in San Francisco since 2002. Pulled together by Bram Cohen and Len Sassaman, the unconference demonstrates bleeding edge software apps and allows programmers to show off their coding prowess.
After a hiatus for a couple of years, Bram has now restarted the conference. Applications that’ll be showcased include effortless BitTorrent deployment with BitTorrent DNA, a distributed transaction layer for Google App Engine, a trend profiler for C/C++, and a parallel web browser for handhelds and multicore laptops. In addition, a BioHack track will demonstrate cool biotechnology apps.
For programmers in the Valley who are interested in the latest peer-to-peer applications, CodeCon definitely is a place to be. CodeCon will be held from April 17-19, 2009 at CellSpace on 2050 Bryant Street in San Francisco. The program can be found here.
There is a lot happening around the world in open source. And open source is becoming more mainstream in the Indian economy. A variety of interests on the part of government, industry and academia are encouraging adoption of open source software in India. Demand for open source has followed the increase in demand for information technologies in all sectors. Liberalization in procurement policy has also contributed to the demand for open source solutions. Industry, academia and community groups are providing training for open source software skills. All of these trends indicate that India is poised to begin to leverage open source software in a bigger way.
Read more in my recent article on FOSSBazaar.org about what’s happening in India.
I’ll be at FOSDEM in Brussels this week and am looking forward to attending the sessions on Fedora, CentOS, Drupal and Mozilla. The first day keynotes at FOSDEM seem pretty interesting too. Mark Surman of Mozilla will talk about how freedom, openness and participation have become a pervasive part of digital life. BDale Garbee will be speaking on Debian and his observations about the role that Debian plays in the world of free software, and some lessons learned that may help other free software projects.
Also, of interest to me are the OSI sessions at FOSDEM where the OSI plans to meet with the European FOSS community. In its ‘Public Meeting of the Open Source Initiative‘, the OSI plans to discuss its recent activities, future direction and other topics of importance to the open source community.
At another session, ‘OSI: Recent Activities and Future Directions‘, the OSI’s Board of Directors will cover recent activities of the organization as well as present a current snapshot of the adoption of open source throughout the world.
While browsing through Google Labs‘ latest inventions, I was pleasantly surprised to find the Google India Labs site with this neat tool for Indic transliteration from English to 5 major Indian languages – Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. The Hindi transliterator converts Roman characters to Devanagari characters. Of course it assumes that you can type “Hinglish” but the tool produces pretty accurate results. And it supports Google services such as Blogger and Orkut which are very popular in India. I’d love to see this tool integrated into GDocs for creating Hindi and other Indian language documents, presentations, spreadsheets. It would be a really useful tool for local language word processing and developing digital content. An API for transliteration of websites is available and its documentation can be found here. If you’re an open source Indic language whiz, check this tool out and provide feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst delivered the first keynote of the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco with a state of the union on Red Hat’s leadership in open source – $500 million dollars in revenues, millions of servers, thousands of customers. Whitehurst highlighted Red Hat’s leadership in the Linux market with 80 percent marketshare with RHEL and 30 percent of the application server market with JBoss. His speech sounded like it was being delivered to “shareholders” of open source.
The new CEO is not quite 90 days into his job. But he’s been all around the globe – meeting customers, heads of government and policy makers in China, Russia, and Europe. He feels that open source is gaining more popularity internationally due to anti-US sentiment.
Whitehurst explained that one of Red Hat’s key challenges is to bring the value of the open source community development model to enterprise customers. For example, the “oVirt” project for building management tools around virtualization is helping Red Hat engage enterprise customers as participants in building these tools together. Another challenge is for Red Hat to be the defining company of open source for the 21st century – by changing the way technology is developed through “iterative innovation”. Patent reform is one of the biggest issues that Red Hat is currently facing and he hoped to see a broader strategy of protecting the whole community instead of just focusing on individual companies.