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O'Reilly Radar Executive Briefing Session at OSCON

I have a tendency to work on my upcoming speaking engagements as they pop off the queue. Sometimes this is unfortunate, as when there’s a need for advance marketing. The O’Reilly Radar Executive Briefing session is a great example. I’d done some early brainstorming with Matt Asay that led to the print marketing piece, but didn’t really start to fill in all the details till last week. I’m incredibly excited about the program, but a lot of new details have just gone up on the web when the event is less than two weeks away, making it tough for people who like to plan ahead. Sorry.

I’m focusing the program around the intersection of Open Source and Web 2.0, because I continue to believe that even though Web 2.0 is deeply rooted in open source, it’s the open source community that most needs to be reminded of the connection. The world that gave birth to the free and open source software communities has changed radically, and open source needs to change as a result.

I kick off the day with a conversation with Chris DiBona from Google, Jeremy Zawodny from Yahoo!, and Jim Buckmaster from Craigslist, exploring how they use open source in their companies, and how web 2.0 applications harness their users at levels far above the code. I’ll also do my best to put them in the hot seat about how they give back to open source. Next, we hear from Bill Hilf about how Microsoft is thinking about open source. Next up: conversations with Jim Buckmaster, Ian Wilkes, and Brian Behlendorf to highlight two of the big ideas that Web 2.0 challenges us with: asymmetric competition and operations as advantage in a world where software is delivered as a service.

Michael Tiemann, Marten Mickos, and David Skok (the VC behind JBoss) will join us to give perspective on how they see open source’s competitive position at the tipping point. We’re well into the third stage of Gandhi’s progression (cited by Eric Raymond in the early days of open source activism): “First they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.” But winning brings its own challenges. I’ll press the panel on the question of how, having disrupted the traditional software ecosystem, they might now themselves be disrupted (or continue to be advantaged) by the move to network computing.

After lunch, we’ll run a session I’m calling “spotlight,” in which 8 open source companies each have ten minutes to wow us with the big ideas behind their projects. These are all companies and people that ought to be on your radar, and I’ll do my best to tell you why.

Irwin Gross will talk about new ideas for building a real marketplace for “intellectual property.” We’ll then talk about open data. (I’m absolutely convinced that the next Richard Stallman is already in our midst. Except that he’s going to be leading a campaign to free our data from lock in, rather than our software.) We’ll talk to Yahoo! about the first shots that have already been fired in the open data wars.

We finish the day in conversation with Mark Lucovsky, once the architect of Microsoft Hailstorm, now working to build the next generation of open services at Google. Mark tells some amazing stories about just how different it is to develop on the “Google platform” than on the Microsoft platform. And then, we’ll hear from that Ginsu knife of open source: Mozilla, home of the most widely used programming language that doesn’t get the respect it deserves (JavaScript), the browser that’s becoming the new standard (Firefox), and one of the oft-overlooked contenders in the budding infrastructure for the internet as platform. We talk with Mike Schroepfer, the VP of Engineering for Mozilla, about all this and more.

This isn’t just the usual suspects. I’m hoping to give a really different perspective on open source. There’s a real risk when you’re too close to something that you can fail to understand just what’s so important about it. It’s also going to be an incredibly intense day, with big ideas and important speakers following in rapid succession. I expect my head to explode by the end of the day.

If you can’t make the event, but do care about the future of open source, you should at least read the writeup, and think about the ideas and people who are listed there. I’ll also give a 15-minute recap of the day on the main stage the next morning.

And, as usual, let me know what I’ve missed. (It was tough to fit everything in, and I know I left out a lot i’ll be kicking myself about tomorrow.)

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  • Carlos

    That looks fascinating. Is there any chance of publishing videos or transcripts?

  • G. Hilts

    Tim,

    You missed one of the Gandhi/Raymond steps:

    1. First they ignore you.
    2. Then they laugh at you.
    3. Then they fight you.
    4. Then you win.

    Unless you’re Ruby, in which case it’s:

    1. First they ignore you.

      (David Heinemeier Hanson comes along)

    2. You win.
  • http://www.voodoowarez.com/blog/0 rektide

    “I continue to believe that even though Web 2.0 is deeply rooted in open
    source, it’s the open source community that most needs to be reminded of the
    connection” Tim,
    I do not think you mean what you aught mean by this.

    And I dont think we’re near “Then you win,” not at all. As you hint, just
    because OSS got adopted by all the who were people laughing (all the people
    with the money), certainly does not mean we’ve won. The greatest challenge is
    letting your principles survive that adoption phase, not getting corrupted,
    continuing to play to your philosophy. This is particularly dangerous for
    OSS, because we’re extremely myopic in coverage. And that fault has derailed
    us as we’ve changed what we focused on. As a whole, OSS allowed its “small
    pieces” UNIX-philosophy to lapse in favor of poster-children do-all apps. In
    this conversion to huge monolithix super projects, we’ve lost the visceral
    loosely coupled advantage OSS used to have, and started compteting directly
    against the corporations. Powerful manipulable environments bourne of these
    loosely coupled pieces is what made Web 2.0 popular & possible. Our
    platforms and stacks gave sharp development teams the ability to build and
    scale these huge centralized databases & rich client web interfaces.
    Scale out became the new scale up.

    And with this environment here OSS quitely sat down and surcame itself to
    twiddling with other people’s big online databases. OSS largely stopped
    trying to grow and evolve better connectivities as soon as every OSS
    programmer got an environment “just good enough” to do what they need to do,
    and no one’s spent the effort to bring the baseline up higher. There’s
    amazing open projects, Asterix, Apache, CRM’s, trying to be a platform within
    their domain. And small elite companies endlessly take the best of these
    ideas and cull and mix them into sharply cut tooling: the perfect project
    management system, the perfect social network, the perfect platform, always taking control, taking a
    revenue stream, taking private property and propriety on what was once free,
    albiet disconnected. We’re granted little doorways into these massive
    systems, and supposed to be happy about it. Thats Web 2.0. Well, its an
    ecosystem, and one with money in it, but I dont believe OSS is just a tool
    for startups. O’, I dont think our evolution is done yet. I dont believe Web
    2.0 and mashups provide true and open interconnectivity. At some point, OSS
    is going to build a better environment, start
    addressing the deeper distributed problems that are keeping our computers and
    programs apart, locked into monolithic single pointed databases. Scale out is
    the new scale up, but at some part we have to break that apart and create a
    truly open information scape.

    As hardware got more powerful and pipes got wider, programmers got lazier. The pressing questions of distributed computing got forgotten for always on connectivity. In the bliss and allure of the Web, we’ve forgotten all noble quest’s (see: OMG) to build an open and distributed computing platform, we’ve forgotten federated infrastructure (see: Operations 3.0, or SAML) to manage vast distributed systems. These things have been thrown to the wind.

    Continued on VoodooWarez Blog, Post #1. Trickling into existance, slowly, slowly.
    Dont ever call me RMS again. vim all the way.

  • http://changingway.net Andrew

    This looks great, sorry I can’t be there. One comment on the speaker pages… why no link to each speaker’s blog or other personal web site?

  • http://webcoop.wordpress.com/ Sid Steward

    “I’m focusing the program around the intersection of Open Source and Web 2.0 …”

    Tim-

    As I’ve noted before, I think a web cooperative might lie at the intersection of open source and web 2.0.

    Not only does it hold a unique promise for its users, but it also presents a novel means for funding open source software development.

    I’m kicking related ideas around on my web co-op blog. Your thoughts?

    Thanks-
    Sid

  • http://tim.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    G. Hilts — in case anyone’s wondering why Ruby and Ruby on Rails are not on the radar — you’d have to be blind to miss them. Your comments are spot on. RoR completely transformed the Ruby landscape.

    One thing, though, that is on the radar (and I chose Django to highlight it) is that extracting a framework from a web application seems to be one of the new ways for people to contribute to open source while keeping an application proprietary. (Another is creating open services.)

  • http://tim.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    Sid — I find your idea of a web cooperative intriguing but unconvincing. It certainly could work. But the best way to find out is to try it. In today’s web, it’s pretty easy to get new systems up and running, so I have acquired a bit of an “I’m from Missouri” attitude towards ideas (including my own) that don’t have existence proofs. Love to hear more when it’s up and running…

  • http://www.voodoowarez.com/blog/0 rektide

    was my comment moderated out?– i spent a long time writing up a reply to this and havent seen it.

  • http://webcoop.wordpress.com/ Sid Steward

    Tim-

    Thanks for the reply. I completely agree about rapidly getting the rubber on the road — I’ve done that in the past. The difference with a co-op is that its implementation is in its organization, and I feel it is critical to get that right. Plus, it must provide services people or businesses need — what would you (or ORM) want from a web co-op?

    So that is why, for once, I’m talking about something so much and not simply cranking it out. A solo co-op would be rather sad. To succeed, it must be community from the inside out.

  • http://tim.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    Sorry rektide — it got caught in the spam trap. I went looking and dug it out.

  • http://www.voodoowarez.com/blog/0 rektide

    thanks, feeling much better.
    i have no idea why it would’ve gotten trapped! ;) ;)