Last year I attended Open World Forum in Paris. It was a lively conference with broad representation of industry leaders, community organizers, and government officials and administrators. The warm reception by the Mayor's office in Paris (at the Hôtel de Ville) underscored what has become increasingly obvious in the analysis of economic statistics: open source software is appreciated, in Paris, France, and Europe. My reflections on the subject of last year's topic, the digital recovery, were captured in the blog posting From Free to Recovery. This year, the agenda of the Open World Forum (Sept 30-Oct 1, 2010) is more ambitious, and I am pleased to be on the program committee, an editor of the 3rd edition of the FLOSS 2020 Roadmap document, as well as one of the organizers of a think-tank session focused on, and beyond, the role of open source software and the future of the BRIC thesis.
Pamela Jones, of Groklaw, thinks that OSI has a problem in Open Core. I think she has it backwards. The Open Core (most notably SugarCRM) folks have a problem. They'd like to convince people that they can achieve the open source effect by having two versions of their code: an open source version, and a proprietary version. They'd like to convince people that their proprietary code is going to benefit from the open source effect. Good luck with that!
When I started working on GNU C++ in 1987, I could almost feel the course of history changing with every line of code I wrote. When I started Cygnus Support in 1989, I was convinced that it was only a matter of time before companies began to realize that proprietary software restrictions did nothing to help their competitive advantage and everything to harm it. And though early funding for my work came from government agencies (US DARPA in 1987 and French INRIA in 1988), I never quite expected to be visiting and promoting open source in Malaysia [short version] [longer version]. Yet such is the reach of open source software! Now the Government of Malaysia proudly reports an astonishing 97% adoption rate for open source software in this new report:
I'm running a BOF at OSCON on Wednesday night July 21st at 7PM, with the declared purpose of adopting an Open Source Definition for Open Data. Safe enough to say that the OSD has been quite successful in laying out a set of criteria for what is, and what is not, Open Source. We should adopt a definition Open Data, even if it means merely endorsing an existing one.
Will you join me there?
On April 20th, 2010, a methane gas explosion ripped apart the operational oil rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico. This accident has become a catastrophe - the largest oil spill in US history. It has damaged the entire ecosystem of life in the Gulf. The ocean waters and shorelines of Gulf states all the way to Florida and the Mississippi river delta continue to be ravaged by the gushing oil. The spill is affecting millions of people, marine life and wildlife.
Those of us who follow the growth of open source in the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China) know that both Brazil and India are leveraging open source at a rapid pace towards economic development.
When I said recently that we still need the Open Source Initiative (OSI), it started a flood of comment. There's no doubt that we need OSI - but we need a better OSI. The one we have now is just too small to be effective and too mired in past successes; a renaissance is needed. You can help.