A blog for the enterprise open source community
OSCON: Final RecapRaven Zachary, August 2, 2006 @ 2:48 am ET
With OSCON 2006 behind me, I have now found the time to sit down and blog about my experience during the remaining days of the convention. My initial plan was to post daily updates from OSCON. However, as soon as day three of the convention began, it was non-stop action from morning until night. Add to this the complexity of having just relocated to Portland – shuttling between a temporary apartment and our new home. The week of OSCON (last week) was an intense one. I’m still recovering.
As I mentioned in my two previous posts on OSCON (day one, day two), the first two days of OSCON are devoted to tutorial sessions. The evening of the second day includes an awards ceremony and a few talks, but it is not until the morning of the third day that the convention really gets moving. I was actually a bit worried on Tuesday, as I was expecting to see more people lined up at registration. However, there was a noticeable increase in attendees on Wednesday morning.
One of the cool activities at the show this year was a world map with pushpins, allowing attendees to mark their home locations. North America and Europe dominated (as might be expected at this stage), but it was great to see a showing from other parts of the world, including Africa and Southeast Asia. Seven attendees originated from Pitcairn Island, although I question the authenticity of this, considering that the entire population of the island is less than 50 people.
Wednesday and Thursday were mostly spent in the exhibit hall. The 451 Group had a booth this year promoting the CAOS Community (more on this soon), and as much as I had planned to attend many sessions during day three and four of the convention, we had a fantastic response at the booth and I spent most of my time camped out there talking to the attendees about what we do and handing out hats and Smarties. Oh, and I am talking about these Smarties, not these. The Smarties were surprisingly controversial for the Canadian and European attendees that found the American Smarties to be inferior to the “real” Smarties by Nestle, a variation on M&Ms.
Although the exhibit hall had an impressive showing by a diverse set of vendors and organizations, a number of vendors that had an active presence at last year’s OSCON were noticeably absent – SpikeSource and SourceLabs, to name a few examples. Red Hat, preferring to focus its “marketing muscle” on its own conference and magazine, was absent yet again, but I did see Michael Tiemann walking the floor.
On Wednesday morning, I gave a talk on enterprise open source adoption. The primary focus of the talk was our user survey results on open source stack providers, although I talked a bit about the next two research reports I am working on, as well as information on the CAOS Community. A number of you have requested the slides, so I am posting them here (PDF).
I was less active on the OSCON party scene this year due to house moving issues, but I didn’t miss the Geronimo Live! party Thursday night on the roof of the Red Lion Inn across from the convention center. The party was sponsored by Virtuas, IBM, Novell, AMD, Terracotta, Covalent, Alfresco, SourceBeat, and OpenLogic. Whew – that’s a mouthful. Of particular note was the addition of Novell to the sponsors list – just six months ago they were buddies with JBoss…and then the world changed.
Of the sessions I was able to attend, the two most memorable were
5 A Day by Robert “r0ml” Lefkowitz and The Renaissance of Invention: Free Software and the Next American Century by Eben Moglen. Both were keynotes held in the main ballroom. R0ml’s talk took a humorous approach to the issue of “how much open source should we be using?” based on the 5 A Day Program health initiative. The answer? 33%. Hopefully, r0ml will blog about this. Eben’s talk, held on Friday afternoon (the last talk of the conference), was inspirational and ended with a standing ovation from the crowd. Regardless of your personal take on the GPLv3 or the Free Software Foundation (FSF), Eben is an amazing speaker and should not be missed.
In conclusion, OSCON was well attended this year and included a number of engaging, entertaining, and informative talks. The exhibit hall included over 50 vendors and organizations and was packed with attendees (until the schwag ran out). But, something was missing this year and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Was it that open source is more mainstream this year than it was before? Was it the loss of intimacy due to the larger attendance? OSCON remains one of my favorite conventions and I look forward to 2007, even if some of the magic has been lost.
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