This year, I was able, thanks to my mangement support, to attend the Open Source Think Tank, which was 2 days before the Open World Forum in Paris.
The list of attendees is impressive, mostly made of CEOs, CTOs, of the most important FLOSS actors WW. The first goal of such an event, which is the networking, is really working full steam here. Among others, I was able to exchange with Chris di Bona (Google), Benoit des Ligneris (Revolution Linux), Ludovic Dubost (XWiki), Eric gries (Lucid Imagination), Michel Ruffin (Alcatel-Lucent), Tim yeaton (Blackduck Software) among others.
I was unable to start with everybody the first day (28th of September), as I was one of the speaker of the announce by the Syntec of its new white paper on “Building and driving an Open Source project”.
So I missed the study on the Airbus case, which consists of best practices advises on a very long term support for an eco-system (50+ years).
But I was there for a presentation on Mergers and Acquisitions in the Open Source ecosystem, and the presentation of the Danish case (best practices advises on building a forge and a community around).
Most of the above mentioned relationships were established during the buffet at the end of that day.
On Wednesday 29th of September, we exchanged on the 2 cases of the previous day. I was the reporter of our group (THIBAUTCHAMPEY, FAIVELEYTRANSPORT – FREDERIC VANBORRE, SAP – ANDRE MINDERMANN, OTRS – ROMAINBERRENDONNER, ADACORE – RAUL OLIVEIRA, IPBRICK – PAULA HUNTER, OUTERCURVE FOUNDATION – ERIC GRIES, LUCID IMAGINATION – RACHELLE MILES, QUALCOMM – SEAN YANG, QUALCOMM – BRUNO CORNEC, HP) for the danish case and exposed our findings:
1/ Value proposition issue:
Assess where FLOSS brings value.
Market survey (not clear yet) and who is the “customer”.
Know the top 5 reusable apps.
Use commercial Business model approach
2/ Communication issue:
Communication channels lacking (no internal community – with other similar projects)
Create case studies. Show municipalities where they could get value.
Lack of real community probably coming from the lack on info on what to share.
3/ Other considerations:
Did they asked themselves the right questions ?
Lack of authority from the central group. No law promoting FLOSS or Open Standards.
Cultural problem between central group vs independance of local groups.
Aren’t the solutions considered too specialized (brikcs rather than solutions).
We also had that day a presentation by Mark Radcliffe and other DLA piper lawyers around various legal problems currently of consideration around Open Source and Cloud.
And we had a very interesting round table with speakers presenting their vision of Cloud and commenting a survey done between participants of the Think Tank on that subject (Rackspace, Google, SugarCRM). I was surprised to see that they were considering that Cloud would be beneficial for Open Source adoption (as I’m sure Cloud will massively use FLOSS technologies, what will be the effect of cloud on improvements for FLOSS communities is to be seen IMO). They were especially expressing praises to the new Open Stack offering and approach. Even Canonical seems to move from Eucalyptus to it now, as its Cloud v2 solution.
However, I expressed my concern around the risk of proprietarisation of Open Source solutions, due to current licenses used (not a lot have adopted AGPLv3 yet). But Chris di Bona as well as Larry Augustin thought that, as usual, the most open and collaborative solutions would impose themselves. So that Open Source would at the end win here as well. I’m still not completely convinced that without due dilligence and special care this will be the case, but who am I to contradict these luminaries 😉
All in all, a very interesting event, ideal for networking, very interesting for the presentations made, and the working group that allo exchanges with people having lots of different backgrounds. I encourage you to attend on of these ThinkTank if you have the possibility to do so, as I think it’s valuable for opening perspective for you and your enterprise.