EuroOSCON – Day One

Today’s highlights…

  • Tim O’Reilly speculated about the future of open source software in Open Source 2.0. Tim described how in an era of hosted software, open source needed to evolve into open data. As the power of hosted software has shifted from source code to data, open data becomes essential to perpetuate the open source philosophy.
  • Tor Nørretranders’s Attention Please! Who Are We? attempted to conflate sex and reproduction with open source – I didn’t fully understand, so I’m not going to attempt to explain!
  • Brian Suda provided an overview of microformats in his presentation Web of Data. Quickly running through elemental and compound formats, Brian concluded the session by demonstrating how microformats can be used to pipe multiple data sources together; I wonder if we can contract a hPrayer format for Believr 😉
  • I intended to go to Douglas Arellanes’ session on The Campware Initiative, but was drawn into a conversation on mobility, digital identity and enterprise social software with Boris Mann from Drupal and Bryght.
  • Schuyler Erle is co-author of my friend Rich’s Google Maps Hacks book, so I figured I should say hi at his talk on Cool Tools for Geographic Applications. Schuyler’s demonstration of Gutenkarte was very interesting as Tarique and I had speculating on a geotagging verses of the Qu’ran for Believr.
  • Steve Coast’s Open Data AWOL broke down the sources and users of open data platforms (such as Wikipedia) and posited that the industry is reaching the limits of what’s possible with source code alone.
  • Adrian Holovary’s Journalism via Computer Programming outlined where journalism is being influenced by open source; the Faces of the Fallen. the US Congress Votes and TheyWorkForYou are all sinks and sources of open data that tell a story via an application, but also expose underlying data for syndication and remixing by others.
  • Jim Purbuck discussed the relationship between Open Source and Second Life; unlike other MMOGs, Second Life is built by its users and their digital creations within the game environment are the property of the creator, not the operator. Such openness is driving the Second Life economy. Worryingly, SL players built a virtual town that was acquired by FEMA for disaster training <rolls eyes> but the service infrastructure and technology base is largely open source, including a number of contributions to open source projects.
  • Lorenzo Benussi attempted to reconstruct the history of open source in An Economic Interpretation of the Evolution of the Free/Open Source Software; Lorenzo’s work is largely focused on the use of FLOSS and open source in the innovation process. Disappointingly, the discussion focused on the technological history rather than political and economic shifts in the same period. More distractingly I saw a girl wearing a T-shirt with <BODY> on the front and </BODY> on the back 🙂
  • Alexios Zavras’ session Open Source for Fostering Local Development described various public services and government agencies that have switched to open source; largely driven by transparency, developer communities, standards, sustainability, reuse, interoperability and security over the long-term.
  • I had a quick chat with Arnulf B. Christi , one of the directors at, about the opening of geodata…notably the UK’s tight-fisted Ordnance Survey and the Freeview Consortium.
  • I had lunch with Femi Akintoye of Progenics, a Nigerian software house; Femi and I exchanged stories about technology and innovation in emerging markets and the developing world.

…And finally, I took some photos of the Grand Place 🙂

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