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O'Reilly Open Source Convention 2006: Opening Innovation and Embracing Community

August 7, 2006

Sebastopol, CA--OSCON, the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, wrapped up in Portland, Oregon last week. This annual gathering, now in its eighth year, once again immersed members of the open source community in a rich and diverse learning experience, examining core open source technologies as well as promising new ones. The event drew just over 2700 participants from every free and open source denomination, making it the largest OSCON to date. With sixty-five sponsors, exhibitors, and community projects, the show floor was also the largest in the event's history.

OSCON is the place to take stock of the current state of open source technologies and their future prospects, and to galvanize the community to continue to take action on behalf of software freedom. "It was interesting to hear speakers and keynoters say 'open source has won,'" remarked OSCON co-chair Nathan Torkington. "We might have won acceptance within business, but that's not the biggest battle. Open source is about freedom, and economic success comes because of, not in spite of, that freedom. Eben Moglen of the Free Software Foundation reminded us that the fight for source freedom is not over, and Tim O'Reilly and Simon Phipps pointed out that the battles for open standards and open data are just beginning."

Of particular note at this year's OSCON was the debut of the O'Reilly Radar Executive Briefing, an intimate gathering with innovators, entrepreneurs, and companies that are currently on the O'Reilly Radar. Organizers Tim O'Reilly and Matt Asay assembled participants with a wide range of experiences and expertise, from Adrian Holovaty, Avi Bryant, and Mark Spencer to Marten Mickos, Chad Dickerson, and Mark Lucovsky.

OSCON offered hundreds of keynotes, sessions, and tutorials, but networking in the form of evening activities and ancillary events proved to be almost as popular as the technical sessions. OSCamp, spearheaded by Brandon Sanders and OSCON co-chair Allison Randal, took place throughout the convention, giving all comers the opportunity to create their own conference program. Damian Conway and Larry Wall headlined the Opening Night festivities on Tuesday. Mozilla offered a Firefox Flicks screening. Tim O'Reilly and biologist Richard Jefferson had an on-stage conversation about the relationship of open source and science at McMenamin's Crystal Ballroom, followed by a live musical performance. Local tours, parties, and birds of a feather sessions extended conversations into the wee hours.

Sponsors of this year's convention illustrated the diversity of open source adoption: Autodesk, Greenplum, Sun, HP, IBM, Ticketmaster, ActiveState, AMD, Covalent, Dell, Google, Hyperic, Intel, Laszlo, MindTouch, Oracle, Port25, Shopzilla, SixApart, Solid, Techtracker Media, The 451 Group, OTBC, Yahoo!, and Zend. OSCON has become an important place for companies to make announcements, and this year's event was no exception:

  • ActiveState Software Inc. announced the technical pre-release of Komodo 4.0, introducing advanced support for Web 2.0 technologies to the award-winning IDE for dynamic languages
  • Covalent Technologies announced it will begin distributing the WSO2 Tungsten SOA Application Server to enterprise customers; Covalent is also partnering with WSO2 to provide full commercial support for the Apache Axis2 project
  • WSO2 announced the formation of its board of directors and advisory board
  • MindTouch unveiled MindTouch Dream, an open source Web 2.0 API for Microsoft .NET and announced the appointment of an inaugural Board of Directors and Advisory Board
  • MindTouch and VISI launched ViaWiki, a hosted web creation and collaboration application that allows anyone to create and edit web pages quickly and easily using a web browser
  • CollabNet and O?Reilly Media announced a partnership to market and sell a joint software development solution for distributed developer networks and communities
  • Scalix Corporation announced that it will turn its popular Scalix Community Edition free software product into an open source project
  • Six Apart announced it has created an open source modular, scalable, high performance Jabber server that enables others to integrate their services with Jabber and LJ Talk, LiveJournal's new instant messaging and voice service
  • Google announced a new service for open-source developers called Project Hosting, which allows developers to upload their own open-source projects and search for others
  • Alfresco Software Inc. announced full Open Document Format (ODF) support through its ODF Virtual File System
  • Kysoh unveiled their new Tux Droid, a wireless programmable robot specifically designed for the Linux platform
  • Webtide, a new services company that provides training, development and support services for Web 2.0 applications, was formally launched during OSCON
  • Dates for OSCON 2007 were also announced. OSCON will return to the Oregon Convention Center July 23-27, 2007.

    Several award ceremonies take place annually at OSCON:

  • Google-O'Reilly Open Source Awards were presented to: Peter Lundblad, Best All-around Developer, Subversion; Gervase Markham, Best Community Activist, Firefox; Cliff Schmidt, Best Legal Eagle, Apache; Julian Seward, Best Toolmaker, Valgrind; Stefan Taxhet, Best Corporate Liaison, OpenOffice.org
  • White Camel Awards were presented to: Josh McAdams, the host of Perlcast; Jay Hannah, Perl Mongers; Randal L. Schwartz, tireless advocate of Perl and the community of Perl
  • Willison Award laurels went to Alex Martelli for outstanding contributions to the Python community
  • HP Photo Contest: grand prizes went to Steve Elgersma and Ted Leung; runners up were Premshree Pillai and Dustin Tinney
  • OSCON is where people working in free and open source software gather to share ideas, debate, make deals, and plan for the next round of open source innovation. OSCON brings together leaders, developers, hackers, and practitioners of every open source persuasion to plumb core issues in the open source community. From business, databases, emerging topics, Java, Ajax, Linux, Perl, PHP, Python, security, Ruby, web apps, multimedia, Microsoft Windows-based open source projects, and so much more, OSCON investigates what's possible in open source.

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