I meant to write something last night but after getting back to the Hotel I completely crashed – it might be just be another effect of jetlag, or just a random meltdown.
So yesterday started with Bill Hilf’s keynote. The big announcement was port25
Port 25 is open. The people, insights, and analysis from the Microsoft Open Source Software Lab. Send us your feedback and ideas. We want to hear from you.
The rest of the keynote was ok – most of it was similar to his presentation last year but with more cast studies and strategy fleshed out. He also outlined the the new free price of Virtual Server and the official support of some Linux distributions, and the open standard of the virtual machine file format.
I don’t doubt that Bill is a genuine guy and that he’s genuinely leading the change in attitude to open-source within Microsoft. The problem is that Microsoft is a big beast and you end up with statements such as Steve Ballmer won’t rule out attacking Linux with patents. So there are bits of Microsoft that ‘get’ open-source and still very high up bits that don’t. It makes me think that there is one of two strategies going on at Microsoft;
- they see the writing on the wall and are just milking every last drop out of the proprietary model while they can.
- they simply refuse to accept anything other than the proprietary model and they’ll fight tooth and nail, and use any tatic to protect their business model.
The truth is probably somewhere inbetween.
After the keynote I went to the talk on OpenOffice.org by the inimitable Michale Meeks. Not sure everyone in the audience appreciated the dry, self depricating, British humour, but I did. Everyone else was just interested in the beast that is OpenOffice.org. Good to hear that Sun have listened to the community and swithced to a 3 month release cycle for bug fixes and non-major features. Lots of encouraging work going on in the OOo project, hopefully now they can start to attract more developers.
Finally I went to the talk on Asterisk by Mark Spencer. It’s refreshing to see someone at the head of an open-source company that is still a geek (meant as the highest form of praise). Some interesting case studies: a school were the teacher takes register through the phones system then parents are phoned if their child isn’t in school, more than a few cities entirely run on asterisk. Good to hear that they are intergrating Google’s Jingle as another VOIP protocol.
After that I headed back down to the show floor and subjected myself to the tllts experience.
After checking that Scott was doing OK on the Gnome booth, and failing to snag him some free headphones from Fujiitsu (they’d runout), I helped the tllts guys packup and then headed into Boston with them, Jeremy and Robin fromLinuxQuestions to find some food and drink.
It’s always risky to generalise but all the (true) community people I’ve met, Luis, Chris, and Scott on the Gnome booth, Toshok from the Mono booth, the KDE guys, Jeremy, Robin and the tllts guys (Linc, Dann, Allan, and Pat) have all been genuinely nice people all doing their best to promote and develop Linux and open-source software. Plus the tllts crew said they would hunt me down if I didn’t say something nice about them.
After food the guys dived into some shops to get presents for their families and then suprised me buy getting me a patriot hat and little plastic figures (in the plastic bag I’m holding).