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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