Wednesday, July 13, 2005

OSS2005, Genova

Genova is quite hot, too! Why is it that countries that really need air conditioning never has it while in Norway any lowly office building is fully equipped? But I digress... I'm here for the OSS2005 conference, aka the 1st International Conference on Open Source Systems. Today is the second day of the main event. This is a more traditional academic conference with the occasional industry participant (most notably Microsoft, IBM and even BSA). Most of the people here seem to be researchers within computer science and information science, including a colleague from the University of Oslo, Knut Staring. I have met one or two who are fellow ethnographers/sociologists/anthropologists, but the vast majority seem to be into modelling and quantitive approaches. A lot of papers yesterday dazzled us with utility formulas and graphs from mathematical simulations of open source projects. A Japanese researcher had done a cluster analysis of the 107 different open source licences in existence... Someone else asked the pertinent question: What had these presenters learnt from their models and simulations which they didn't know going in? The keynote speakers were quite good, pointing at the fact that the OS field is developing, becoming more professional, and the struggle is on to stay true to community values at the same time as making money, making the development model more professional and predictable - not to mention the issue of software patents. After the reception and the free drinks, yesterday night was spent with Italian colleagues at a Genoese restaurant, sampling the local delicacies...

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