[OSCON 2008] The Keynote
This morning, I woke up awful early to polish my presentation, walked to the train station and rode Amtrak from Salem to Portland. The commute was great: there's nothing better than traveling with power and an EVDO card + the option to get a cup of coffee. After getting off the train, riding The Max and walking to the Oregon Convention Center, I'm now sitting in the Keynote at OSCON. Here's my notes from this session.
10 years ago, leaders of the free software movement got together and tried to figure out a way to help people understand how to get access to software freedom. As they talked, there was a gradual meeting of minds. Finally, one person suggested "Open Source". A few weeks later, there was a larger meeting of people and they heard about this term. It was an idea that changed the idea of software freedom and what free software was. We've come along way since then. Last year, we heard about open source and and it trying to find identity in corporations. This year, we're hearing about corporations trying to find their identity in open source.
The official tag for this conference is: oscon08.
While this is the 10th Anniversary of OSCON, it's also the 12th Anniversary of the O'Reilly Perl Conference (where it all started). Tim began his activism with Perl when it got on the web. He was thinking about the internet and the online world, from the beginning (when many others were coming from Linux). Open Source was almost named "SourceWare". Tim believes his biggest contribution is bringing Open Source and the Internet together.
"Keep your History" - make the things you put online accessible for years to come.
When OSCON first started, it was all about the OS Wars. Tim is showing a shirt with the famous Ghandi quote on it about "First they laugh at you..." and it has a Linux logo on the bottom. It's seems ironic that Microsoft is now one of the major sponsors of this conference (my thoughts, not Tim's).
Three Big Challenges and Opportunities:
- Cloud Computing
- The (Open) Programmable Web
- Open Mobile
Cloud Computing: Amazon Web Services, Google App Engine, The Engine Yard, etc.
Jesse Vincent: "Web 2.0 is Sharecropping"
Danny O'Brien: "If we want people to have the same degree of user autonomy as we’ve come to expect from the world, we may have to sit down and code alternatives to Google Docs, Twitter, and EC3 that can live with us oon the edge, not be run by third parties."
Basically, Tim is saying the that cloud computing is great, but it doesn't fit well with open source. This is primarily because if you build on a cloud, you have to be careful not to get locked into that platform.
Data is the "Intel Inside".
The Web is the Internet Operating System - the subsystems will be data subsystems.
Locking in data: iTunes and Amazon's Kindle. On the other hand you have Yahoo's BOSS, which is doing the opposite.
We Need the Open Web Platform! Tomorrow's Keynote, "Supporting the Open Web" will talk much more about this.
The Mobile Web has caused the "browser wars" to resurface. However, big companies like Google are putting a stake in the ground and saying "We believe in open". Net Neutrality and The Open Handset Alliance are two of Google's smartest strategic decisions. They understand how much they depend on the open ecosystem.
When we look at our success in the last 10 years, we can be really excited. But what's really impressive is how much we (as an open source community) is how we've risen to new challenges and challenged the openness of new platforms and industries.
Christine is the President of the the Foresight Institute. Christine was the person who suggested the term "open source" at the meeting referenced above. Unfortunately, my first battery died as Christine was coming on stage, so I missed writing down the first 10 minutes of her 15 minute talk. She's talking about the openness vs. privacy of keeping US citizens safe. She started her talk apologizing for the ethnocentricity of her talk and moved to quickly note that the e-voting controversy wouldn't have happened if open source software was used.
"Who would have guessed that the folks with the pocket protectors would turn out to be the ones with the right stuff?" -- LA Times
Founding Geeks: Thomas Jefferson (mechanical geek) and Thomas Edison (electricity geek).
You can't just complain about things. The fear is real. We can't just complain about how DC is solving problems, we have to step up and solve them ourselves.
"No Secret Software for Public Sensing Data."
Dirk is the Chief Linux and Open Source Technologist at Intel. He's talking about Moblin: Linux for Next Generation Mobile Internet. This sounds like something that has been talked about a million times before. Why is it interesting today? Because we're at an open source conference and open source is what makes it interesting.
When people look at Intel, they don't think of open source. However, Intel is very involved in open source and uses an open source methodology internally for their development process. They also have one of the largest grids powered by open source (~100K Linux servers).
Moblin is about the internet, about mobility, about flexibility and extensibility. What's happening today is the ideas of 10 years ago have become affordable to produce (for manufacturers) and purchase (for consumers). There's lots of proprietary ways to develop the mobile web, but it needs to be open in order to prevent lock-in (to a platform) and encourage innovation.
A year ago, Intel started Moblin. Initially, there wasn't a lot of interest from open source developers. The majority of interest came from companies, particularly hardware vendors. To Dirk, this was disappointing as he really wanted a community to guide the project and make choices about the platform. There's lots of Open Mobile/Linux efforts out there, but there aren't any that are truly open - with access to the source code and everything else you'd expect from an open source project. Intel was hoping to announce a cutting-edge infrastructure for Moblin here at OSCON, but they're a few weeks behind. They hope to be ready for soon.
"The hope that I have is the community takes this from us. Show us where to go. Show us where not to go. Help us get this right."
Tim O'Reilly interviews Monty Widenius and Brian Aker
Tim asks how it's going 6 months in. Monty responds that he's very happy they didn't have to go public and that Sun is still trying to figure out what they bought. One of the things difficulties they've seen about encouraging Sun's engineers to be involved in open source is some are hesitant about open sourcing their code. The biggest problem is engineers are afraid of the feedback/scrutiny that their code will receive.
MySQL was very unique as a company in that it was a virtual company, with most engineers working out of their homes. MySQL has become an enabling force for moving Sun to a similar model.
Monty is working on Maria (new storage engine) and Brian is working on Drizzle (a slimmer version of MySQL). Drizzle was inspired by a conversation when Brian was talking to Rackspace's CTO.
"Do less and then create extensibility mechanisms." -- Tim O'Reilly