Most readers are probably familiar with the fact that companies or organizations sometimes post “bounties” for open source products, or features, that they would like to see developed. Implement the thing to their satisfaction, you get the bounty – and the community gets the code. Sweet. A while back I started gathering references to these things, thinking I’d start a site that listed them, made connections between coders and sponsors, etc.
OSCON ends with a half-day that goes by all too quickly. Below are some notes from those final few hours. Keynotes Nat Torkington During the Keynote segment Nat Torkington cracked everyone up with an omnidirectional roast he called Open Source Therapy. He described imaginary family therapy scenarios in which Mom and Pop are working out their problems with their various open-source-project kids. The only one I wrote down was about Python: “Mom and Pop wish Python would get drunk, get laid, and lighten the fuck up!
Keynote speakers Ben Fry talked about Processing (I missed this part, but fellow attendees who hadn’t heard of the language before we very excited and impressed.) Bill Hilf from Microsoft notes that they’re moving to some OSI-approved licenses. Rickard Falkvinge from Sweden’s Pirate Party spoke about their attempt to reform intellectual property law. In their first election, they got only 0.63% of the vote, buy this placed them in the top 10 parties in their first election – a record for a first-year political party.
Today’s notes will be a bit more free-form. Now that the tutorial days are over and the main conference has begun, there are more sessions – and less time to write! Keynotes Tim O’Reilly raised the question of openness beyond source code. This felt a bit amorphous, but he did have a good point that when software is a service, availability of source code is not the whole story – if Google gave you their source, you couldn’t do anything with it.
I was able to stop by Holocene this evening for the first half of FOSCON III: Really Radical Ruby. Those crazy kids. The event was sponsored by SQKWZR, which the two founding scientists/emcees claimed was fake – but you know they’re just saying that to keep people from stealing their ideas. I saw five 10-minute-ish lightning talks before I had to leave and get my beauty rest. Here’s the gist. My apologies in advance to anyone whose presentation details, name, or affiliation I bungle:
Python and WSGI This morning I took Mark Ramm’s “Modern Web Development with Python and WSGI” tutorial. Mark had people build stuff during class, which was a great way to have these concepts sink in. I successfully built a little WSGI-powered site in just a few minutes. As Chas promised (but I didn’t actually believe him), it’s pretty simple stuff. For a long while I’ve pointed people to Joe Gregorio’s Robaccia as a way to understand concepts behind web frameworks, and to get a sense of why you shouldn’t just dive in and make your own without grasping those concepts.
I’m here in the great city of Portland, Oregon for the 2007 O’Reilly Open Source Convention, or OSCON. Looks like it’s going to be a fun week. The first two days are for “tutorials”, half-day sessions on specific practical topics. Though you are officially required to sign up for your sessions in advance, sometimes you just need to float. There’s so much going on it can be hard to choose to stay put.