Continuing my mission to have the latest news, the minute it happens, I bring my random thoughts from the Linux Foundation collaboration summit in Austin, Texas.
I arrived down from Dallas on the 7th and met up with Dave for some beverages. We braved the patchy provision of footpaths and made away to the one and only bar sort of close to the hotel, just as the last 2, dramatic, minutes were ticking down in NCAA Basketball finals. Clearly my Ego told me that the cheers were for my, and to a lesser extent Dave’s, entrance into the bar. Sadly it was because Kansas had come from behind to tie the game, on a 3 point shot, with only seconds left (luckily for us Kansas would go on to win it in overtime, so everyone in the bar was in a GoodMood™). We got chatting to the locals a bit – one conversation with a pair of guys who’d build a mobile marketing product on Linux and JBoss and ‘lots of other open source stuff’ and another slightly circular conversation about theology, education, and the differences between Europe and the US (circular in the sense that Dave and I wanted to talk about the differences between Europe and the US or, to be honest, anything other subject, whereas our somewhat intoxicated friend only wanted to ramble about theology and education).
The first day of the summit I think was very much for those people who are new to open source style community development and practices. So while from my point of view it was slightly preaching to the converted there were still some useful nuggets here and there.
There was a spirited panel on the ‘State of Linux Mobile’ – it was good to have a panel where the panelists didn’t entirely agree with each other. The conversation was a little overly corporate, but this is understandable given the market. However I think the panel was a little too focused on mobile == phones, whereas open source is being used across the ‘mobile device industry’ (for want of a better term).
The evening event was in a nightclub that had a sharkpool under the clear dance floor – no sign of a Bond villain style trap door anywhere. J5 took us all on a mission to find one of the few bars in Austin that do flaming Dr. Peppers, a drink performance that really needs photos and video to fully appreciate – I would definitely recommend it as a spectacle, although I can’t image it tasted that great (as I was driving I didn’t partake). On the subject of photos, I completely failed at remembering my camera after the first day, but there were plenty of photos taken, so please point me to them in the comments (Dave, are yours on flickr yet?).
On day two there was a dedicated mobile track, where we were able to delve deeper into the Android, LiMO, and Moblin stacks. While none of these folks escaped unscathed, I think Android was under heaviest fire, not least because they seemed to have a rather antiquated view of how to engage in community development (despite the rather substantial experience within Google as a whole).
Day three, for me, was dedicated to a GNOME Mobile meeting, where we dealt with a variety of topics around the upcoming Mobile platform release. Nothing spectacular to report here, just steady progress towards the release, and further building the platform beyond that.
As I have done at past events, I did a little unscientific laptop census. It was pleasing to see that most folks where running Linux on their laptops (including a MacBook Air running Ubuntu), with the Windows and OSX users being the tiny minority. However it was noticeable that a significant percentage of the audience are iPhone owners, and also a higher percentage of treo / blackberry / other smartphones than I’m used to seeing in the UK. Certainly there was much peer pressure with many people I know raving about their iPhone (at a particularly dangerous time for me as I’m completely fed up with my N70 and seeking a new phone + contract).
Travel tip for anyone visiting Austin – don’t stay at the Marriott Fairfield Inn if you’re a light sleeper. It’s delightfully placed between the freeway and a freight rail track (with trains roughly every two hours day and night). My phone didn’t really capture the noise,
Luckily, once I got used to it, I slept through.
Overall it was a great week in Texas, a well run and useful summit, and great to catch up with lots of folk (too numerous to mention everyone without forgetting someone, so you all know who you are).
BTW, we’re hiring. Lots of exciting positions for developers and designers.