OpenSolaris has a stall in the DotOrg Pavillion today and so the first order of business has been to work out which sessions I and my fellow OpenSolaris attendees want to attend so that we can work out a stand rota. That was surprisingly easy, since most people seemed to be very happy to spend time on the stand.
Democracy: A Hacker's Guide
This talk was presented by the Director of MySociety and I was interested to find out what kinds of tools they had created for re-formatting text for improved presentation on the web.
It was an interesting talk but the emphasis was not on the tools, but on the different processes and website that MySociety have produced. Interesting, but not for the reasons I expected and not terribly relevant.
I just spent some time on the stand and interest is high. We've given away about 30 developer kits and the general attitude of people stopping to chat with us is good. People are having trouble getting Nexenta to boot though as it's quite slow and not everyone has the patience to wait for it.
The Secret Sauce of Robust Developer Communities
This talk claims to provide the secret recipe for building open source communities...
Developer network maturity levels are described in the presentation. This is a useful formalism for identifying what you might need to do to improve collaboration and your community.
The examples of ebay, BEA and their developer community were provided.
An interesting pair of keynotes. The first addressed the question of "Why does Second Life achieve such high levels, compared to other projects, of community participation?" No really clear answers, but I think the main conclusion was that a motivated community will contribute. The second was given by the CEO of MySQL and discussed the move of MySQL from being a European company to one based in Silicon Valley. It was lively and informative, the main reason for the move being that in general Americans encourage and reward the entrepeneurial spirit, whereas Europeans don't. A major laugh was the reward for the comment that a Finn saying "That's ok" is equivalent to an American saying "That's fantastic".
Interestingly, this talk actually addresses the notion that "Open Standards" are more important to user technology choices than "Open Source". This is an argument that Sun has made for many years, at least since the publication of the NFS standard and arguably as far back as when the company was founded.
Unfortunately, the presenter seems locked into the idea that Linux is the only mechanism for promoting "Open Standards" which is a self-defeating view in my opinion. If an Operating System standard is truly "Open", then surely there is scope for competing in the marketplace for all vendors, not just those who favour Linux.
On the whole, I agreed with the message that standards are important, but I disagreed with many of the conclusions that he drew from this message.
The OpenSolaris BOF will be this evening. I'm looking forward to it and hope we get some interesting conversations started.