Jul 23 2010
Oregon has become synonymous with open source software development. Perhaps this is one reason why the O’Reilly conference moved back to Portland, OR, after a year’s hiatus to Silicon Valley. [See Mike Rogoway’s piece in the Oregonian: OSCON returns to Portland]
Whatever the reasons, the show boasted both a reasonably well sized exhibit hall as well as numerous technical sessions.
Unfortunately, I had only a few precious hours to spend at this year’s OSCON. Most of that time was spent talking to exhibitors on the show floor. Here are the results from my brief walking-man tour.
The first exhibitor you see once you enter the show floor is Intel. Aside from pressing their Software Insight eMagazine, Intel did have a few engineers on hand to talk about specific topics. For example, I talked briefly with Sunil Suxena, Chief Architect for MeGoo – Intel’s Linux-based open source mobile operating system project. MeGoo resulted from the merging of Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo development platforms. MeGoo supports both Intel’s Atom and ARM’s mobile processors.
Sunil was very helpful, answering my wide ranging questions. For example, I didn’t realize that Google’s Android – another Linux-based open source OS for mobile devices – uses Java as a development environment, where as MeGoo uses the QT (C++ based) platform.
As I continue my trek across the exhibit floor, I discovered a first time OSCON start-up called 2600Hz. This company caught my eye because of the phrase’s significance to the hacker community. You can read more about the history of the 2600 Hertz at Wikipedia . But the company 2600Hz deals with the world of cloud telephony. According to Darren Schreiber, the CEO and Co-Founder, his company provides open-source software that enables a fully functional user interface for VOIP projects. The key is its compatibility with FreeSWITCH, Asterisk and YATE switching libraries. Apparently, these libraries don’t normally play nicely together.
My next stop was to a non-profit group called “Code for America,” whose main mission is to encourage the uniform usage of open source software throughout local governments. This group, based in San Francisco, is planning to expand next year into several major cities, including Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boulder and Seattle.
Qualcomm had a presence at OSCON, which was not surprising since Qualcomm’s BREW is a significant OS and development environment in the realm of mobile handset and devices. At this show, the company was highlighting their Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) which supports the open source community to advance the wireless industry. From the center’s website: “Android, Chromium, Linux, Webkit and MeeGo projects are QuIC’s top open source priorities.”
Broadcom – a competitor to Qualcomm in wireless chipsets – did not have a booth at OSCON.
Adding to the growing list of companies that provide an open source exploration and documentation tool suite is Palamida. In the re-awakening market for mergers and acquisitions (M&As) of software companies, it makes good business sense to document the versions and type of open source software that might be part of the overall corporate software code base.
Developing code is one things; managing the business process for open source and legacy code workflow is another. Joget is one company that automates this process with a life-cycle based workflow management tool.
Several companies at OSCON were looking for software programmers, from Amazon, the online book giant, to the social media maven embodied by Facebook and even a defense industry player, namely, Lockheed Martin. Add to this list an organization called “Girls in Tech,” sponsored by 24Notion. Girls in Tech is a non-profit social networking group focused “engagement, education and empowerment of like-minded, professional, intelligent and influential women in technology.”
All in all, my time on the exhibit floor opened my eyes to the variety of companies that work with or support the open source software movement. I only wish that I had time to attend a few of the keynotes and technical sessions.