OSCON 2010: Open source in a world of new defaults

Registration is now open for the O’Reilly Open Source Convention, July 19-23, Portland, OR.

This year’s revolutionary technology frequently becomes the accepted norm a few years down the line. Every so often the revolution is big enough, and a noticeable shift in the technology landscape occurs.

We’re at such a point in 2010. At OSCON 2010 in July, we’ll be talking about the new environment that developers, businesses and open source projects find themselves in, and how they can navigate and get the best from it.

Cloud by Default

oscon2010.jpgFor many years at OSCON we called out “web applications” as a distinct topic. This year it became a useless demarcation, as just about everything is a web application. Cloud computing is in a place similar to web applications a few years ago.

Your next application will probably run in a cloud setting, whether public or private. The cloud brings with it concerns of designing for scalability, replication and failure, presenting new opportunities and techniques. In a few years, these will be second nature, taken for granted. For now, we’re learning the ropes, agreeing on standards, pushing forward with developing new tools.

The consequences of the move to the cloud can be felt throughout the OSCON program, but especially in the cloud computing and database tracks. Keynote speaker Stormy Peters will be exploring the challenge that software-as-a-service presents to traditional open source.

One of the interesting spinoffs from cloud computing is that the disciplines of system administration and software development have merged to some extent, as systems management becomes more programmatic and development needs to account for systems architecture. In line with this we’ve retitled our system administration track Operations and will cover topics such as configuration management, scalability and monitoring.

Mobile By Default

Mobile interfaces are no longer a novelty or wishlist item. Changes in the handset marketplace and phone technology are revealing viable paths for mobile development without deep investment or highly specialized developer skills. Always-on data connections work hand-in-hand with cloud services to make the cellphone the universal computing terminal.

For open source developers, the mobile touchpaper has been lit by two technologies: Android and HTML5. Android provides an open source friendly environment for custom mobile development, and HTML5 is the answer to rich, portable application development that works across both Android and iPhone.

OSCON’s mobile track covers everything you need to know about open source mobile development, whether Android or iPhone, and innovative uses of other mobile technologies.

Diverse By Default

The architectural diversity that web, cloud and mobile applications bring means that developers and operations rarely have the luxury of using only one or two tools. Instead, you pick the tool for the job, whether that’s programming languages or other applications.

Most of us need a functional grip on Javascript and HTML, have Python at our fingertips as our go-to scripting language, and probably use administration tools based on Ruby. We might deal with source code stored in Subversion, Git or Mercurial.

OSCON will be celebrating and tracking programming language diversity, with a keynote from Rob Pike, Google’s inventor of the Go programming language, and sessions on Scala, Clojure, Erlang, Smalltalk and more.

Open source isn’t a by-geeks, for-geeks thing any more. Goals for adoption are set higher. We will focus on community diversity as a dependency for open source, and why open source projects need to be person-centered for success.

Open By Default

Opening up source code is a new default for organizations and corporations, and is playing a key role in the development of cloud architecture, mobile platforms, open government and open data. For the first time this year, we’ve added a Healthcare track, to catalyze and foster the development of open source, open data and APIs in Health IT.

OSCON’s full session listing includes 40 three-hour tutorials, and tracks on Business, Cloud Computing, Community, Databases, Education, Government, Hardware, Java, Javascript, Mobile, Operations, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, and Tools & Techniques.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be writing more about the technologies, trends and issues in open
source that OSCON covers this year. In the meantime, do check out the schedule and take advantage of early registration.

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