Tag Archives: Conferences

At FOSDEM 2009

I'm going to FOSDEM, the Free and Open Source Software Developers' European Meeting

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.

Will post more later during the conference.

Building open source communities at OSSPAC

OSSPAC Singapore

OSSPAC Singapore

Singapore will be hosting its new open source conference OSSPAC from February 16-18 next month. OSSPAC is being supported by global open source players such as Red Hat, IBM, Oracle, MySQL (Sun) and Novell as well as influential local organizations such as Singapore International Chamber of Commerce and the Singapore Computer Society.

It is great to see an organized effort to hold a open source business conference in Singapore. The timing is right to emphasize how open source can support cost efficiencies and bring a greater value proposition for decision makers especially during the current global economic downturn. The conference is expecting about 500 attendees from quite a spread of nations all the way from India to Indonesia and Malaysia.

OSSPAC has some great keynotes lined up. A couple of keynotes I’m interested in attending include Harish Pillay’s talk on “The Magic of Infinity: How abundance drives innovation and economies” and Dr. Leng’s talk on “iN2015 and the Innovation Bazaar“. The conference program covers a lot of ground with session topics ranging from the virtues of virtualization and Android 101 to building and governing open source communities.

I’ll be speaking on a couple of topics I’m passionate about – on building successful open source communities and on “Open Source Open World” where I’ll talk about the impact of open source outside the US especially in India where open source has developed a large and healthy grassroots community around it but still sees slow industry adoption.

I’m looking forward to being in Singapore and interacting again with the vibrant local open source community.

FOSS seminar by IOTA Kolkata on Dec 26-28

IOTA Kolkata

IOTA Kolkata

The Institute for Open Technology and Applications (IOTA) will be holding its “Freedom in Computer Technology” seminar later this month at Science City in Kolkata on December 26-28. This seminar aims to promote FOSS in West Bengal and is targeted at state policy makers, industry professionals and academics from Kolkata and neighboring areas. Panel discussions and sessions on open source technologies, business models, licensing, standards and open hardware are on the program. FSF has announced a 3 hour talk ;-) on ‘Copyright vs. Community’ by RMS at the event on Dec 26. If you’re able to attend, please send me feedback about the event.

IOTA’s charter includes promotion of FOSS in government and academia and was founded in 2007. Supported by Sun Microsystems India and Red Hat India, IOTA seeks to provide information on FOSS and open standards to organizations looking to understand how open source can fit into their IT infrastructure. IOTA’s resource center at Jadavpur University also offers training on Linux and Open Office. It would be great to see more quality training on other components of the LAMP stack from IOTA as well as more community participation from ILUG-Cal and other local groups.

GNUnify 2009 announced, CFP now open

GNUnify 2009

GNUnify 2009

Pune’s popular FOSS conference GNUnify has just announced its dates for 2009 – February 13-14. The conference has been organized annually by the Pune FOSS community, Linux User Group (PLUG) and Symbiosis’ Institute for Computer Studies and Research (SICSR) since 2003 and is a favorite meeting place for India’s FOSS community.

The seventh GNUnify plans to bring together another round of excellent technology talks, workshops, BOFs and install-fests. The call for participation is now open – so send in your proposal for an in-depth talk, a serious workshop or a BOF on the latest open source technologies to Harshad Gune or Sudhanwa Jogalekar at GNUnify.

Twincling’s Open Source Summit Programming Contest: Show-off Your Code

Twincling Open Source Summit 2008

Twincling Open Source Summit 2008

The Open Source Summit coming up in Hyderabad this weekend has lined up some exceptional talks, workshops and a fun programming contest. Sessions I’d like to be at (and I know you’d be too) include Using Git in your project, Hadoop: a data intensive distributed application framework, Map-Reduce: a distributed model of computation, open source routers, layered security using open source tools and hands-on workshops on Threading Building Blocks (TBB) and OpenMP multi-core programming.

The programming contest challengeFind the Words” is already underway. All entries must include an English-language explanation of your solution’s design. Contest entries must include source code for the implementation. Also don’t forget to add contributor names, e-mail addresses, and brief resumes (including postal addresses and telephone numbers) of everyone who contributed to the project. The project must be submitted as a gzipped tar file via email to leela at twincling dot org. The submission deadline is midnight (IST) December 12 2008.

Take on this challenge, show off your code and impress your peers.

Twincling’s Open Source Summit ’08: Contributing to Open Source

Twincling Open Source Summit 2008

Twincling Open Source Summit 2008

Cool technology, hacking code, phenomenal energy — that’s the upcoming Twincling Open Source Summit in Hyderabad.

Over the last few years it’s been fantastic to see the growing energy around open source software in Hyderabad resulting from the dedicated efforts of the Twincling Technology Foundation. This year, Twincling is organizing its 2-day Open Source Summit on December 13-14 at the beautiful IIIT Campus in Gachibowli. The agenda includes in-depth sessions on open source technologies like KDE, Git, Hadoop, OpenSUSE and Gentoo. Plus, the second day will have hands-on workshops by Intel engineers on Threading Building Blocks (TBB) and openMP. There also will be sessions on open source Web 2.0 frameworks, virtualization, networking, operating systems and multi-core software development technologies.

At Twincling events, I’ve come to expect a high level of participation from attendees, high quality discussions, and good technology sessions. Earlier this year, I conducted the Open Source Entrepreneurship Forum organized by Twincling. I was impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of the local developer community. They are eager to build software and start-ups based on open source tools and techniques.

At this year’s Open Source Summit, developers can expect to learn about the latest in open source software, share their knowledge and, as always, network with peers. So mark your calendars for December 13-14 (Saturday-Sunday) and participate at the summit. Don’t miss this opportunity to join in the excitement.

OSCON 2008: 10 years of Open Source, Open Web Foundation, and Microsoft joins Apache Software Foundation

OSCON2008 rang in 10 years of the Open Source Definition along with the 10th anniversary of OSCON. Open Source has come a long way in the last decade. The flag bearers of open source – Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl, PHP, Python – have matured and are now mainstream. This wealth of open source tools, technologies, and applications was well represented in OSCON’s sessions and discussions.

Sessions I liked

There were some excellent talks highlighting the adoption of open source models and technologies in education, political campaign and voting software, media such as NPR and BBC. The sessions on education, IPR & FOSS economics and women in technology were of special interest to me.

The panel discussion on “Changing Education… Open Content, Open Hardware, Open Curricula” presented initiatives from Africa such as African Virtual Open Initiatives and Resources (AVOIR) and Chisimba. According to Derek Keats of the University of the Western Cape, Chisimba, a local open source project was specifically launched to teach communication, collaboration and coding skills necessary to participate effectively in global open source projects as well as support local requirements. I feel India’s universities could significantly succeed in their goal to produce effective contributors to FOSS, if similar models were adopted. Without having the need to support local requirements (i.e. itch to scratch), it is difficult to develop any open source software locally or produce significant contributors.

I enjoyed Pia Waugh’s talk on “Heroes: Women in FOSS” where she presented the typical stereotypes that women face in technology jobs and best practices for motivating young women early on (grades 8-12) to get into programming and science in Australia. She talked about OLPC being a great platform to get kids to learn to develop using FOSS.

The panel discussion on “Open Source, Open World” provided an unfiltered view of FOSS adoption across the world. Open standards and open source have been intertwined in the past year as the politically charged ODF / OOXML battle has pulled almost every country into the debate at ISO. Nnenna Nwakanma of FOSSFA Africa talked about how bitter the open standards battle has been in Africa with tremendous pressure from large corporations to get OOXML ratified by ISO. Rishab Ghosh of UNU Merit provided an excellent overview of the EU evaluation of open standards and adoption of open source in government. Bruno Souza of Brazil provided an update on pressures imposed on the government ministeries to influence the OOXML vote. I presented a brief report on the tremendous pressure put on committee participants and central government ministeries in India as it voted against OOXML. Another key area discussed was FOSS in education. I talked about FOSS in college curricula being critical to successfully build a sustainable open source ecosystem to create contributors and software. This panel was one of those rare discussions at OSCON that provided a global perspective on real challenges to FOSS adoption. After this panel discussion, I ran across this map showing participants at OSCON to be mostly from the US and Europe. And it seemed to reflect the reality of many lop-sided discussions that happen in technology (even in open source) with minimal representation from the rest of the world.

Tectonic shifts

A key announcement at the conference was that of the formation of the Open Web Foundation (OWF). This non-profit foundation aims to protect and help development of open, non-proprietary specifications for web technologies. David Recordon, a founder of OWF outlined the foundation’s goals in this presentation.

And to do its open source good deed of the year, Microsoft announced its platinum sponsorship of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) by pledging to donate $100,000 every year to support Apache development. Sam Ramji, Microsoft’s Senior Director of Platform Strategy had an announcement on his blog. ASF put out the following statement on www.apache.org -

The Apache Software Foundation welcomes Microsoft as a Platinum Sponsor
At OSCON, Microsoft announced their sponsorship of The Apache Software Foundation, joining Google and Yahoo! at Platinum level. The generous contributions by Sponsoring organizations and individuals help offset the day-to-day operating expenses to advance the work of The ASF.”

Here is what Michael Tiemann of the OSI had to say about the announcement and on what Microsoft should can do for open source. I agree with him about what they can start with, namely:

  1. Pursue the abolition of software patents with the same zeal they showed in their (Microsoft’s) efforts to get OOXML approved as a standard.
  2. Unilaterally promise to not use the DMCA to maintain control of their Trusted Computing Platform.
  3. Transition to 100% open standards (as defined by the OSI, IETF, W3C, or the Digistan).
  4. Stop trying to maintain their monopolies by illegal, anti-competitive means [1] [2].

Actions demonstrate intent and direction. Let us see what Microsoft will do positively with the open source community in action. Let us see which way the wind blows.

Open Source Open World at OSCON’08

OSCONNext week is OSCON. As this conference celebrates its 10th anniversary, there are a lot of cool happenings at and around the conference. I’ve been partipating at OSCON now for over 5 years and it has always been the hub of foss geeks from all parts of the US and beyond. It has changed its character a bit but not much. The hallway conversations, great talks, BOFs, awards, parties and the sheer number of geeks, geek-herders and wanna-be geeks (from companies who can’t avoid open source anymore) make the OSCON experience pretty exciting. This year promises to be fun again with co-located events such as OSCamp, an unconference from the 23rd to 25th occuring simultaneously at OSCON.

I’ll be part of a panel discussion termed “Open Source, Open World” and will be presenting a perspective on open source in India and its impact on India’s IT ecosystem. My fellow speakers will be Nnenna Nwakanme of FOSSFA Africa, Li Gong of Mozilla China, Bruno Souza of JUG, Brazil, Harshad Gune of GNUnify, India, Martin Michlmayr of HP, Europe and Rishab Ghosh of UNU-MERIT, Europe. The world will speak through these panelists and it should be very interesting to learn what open source has done to transform the world in the past 10 years. Danese Cooper will be moderator.

It has also been 10 years since the term “open source” was coined and the OSI was formed. The open source community will be gathering at OSCON to celebrate these anniversaries. I look forward to the next 10 years of open source going strong and changing the landscape of software development in many more ways.

See you there!

Why Bloggers (Even Non-Programmers) Benefit from Participating in Open Source Projects

BlogHer 2008BlogHer 2008, is an annual conference that brings together bloggers from all over the world to confab under one roof. This year it will be held July 18-20 in San Francisco. Over 1000 women bloggers will gather together at this forum to talk and blog live about a lot of topics – from political opinion commentary to parenting, green eco-consciousness to travel, good blogging techniques to open source technology and blogging tools. Pretty cool, huh!

I’ll be one of the speakers at an exciting panel this Friday on “Why Bloggers (Even Non-Programmers) Benefit from Participating in Open Source Projects“. My fellow panelists include Mozilla’s Chief Lizard Wrangler Mitchell Baker and Freebase community director Kirrily Robert. This panel will discuss why and how bloggers, programmers and even non-programmers can participate in open source projects and the benefits of participating in the open source community which shares a lot with the blogging world. Participation begins with an itch to scratch or a problem to solve and can be challenging as well as fun in open source projects . This interactive discussion promises to be interesting and I’ll blog more on my experience later.

OSBC 2008: Open Source and True Innovation

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.