I spent the last two days at OSBC West. The attendees were overwhelmingly Open-Source vendors, with a sprinkling of venture caps and journalists. The buzz was palpable, even if the mix was a little odd; good suits contrasting with T-shirts; IRC channels and Slashdot visible on laptop screens. There were so many journalists there that Sun PR managed to set me up ten (!) briefings over the course of the two days, so I didn’t get to hear many of the talks. Nicholas Carr looked at electrical-industry history, covering some of the same same territory that Jonathan Schwartz has been over, but going a lot deeper and drawing a pretty convincing analogy, I thought. I caught a few minutes of Mitch Kapor talking up Wikipedia; he’s a good strong-voiced clear-headed advocate. The press briefings went OK except for when Paul Krill, who’s really an excellent tech writer, accidentally hit one of my hot buttons by asking whether bloggers are really reliable, given that they don’t have professional fact-checking and editing support. Given that I’m still mad at the Washington Post for egregious uncorrected lying, I kind of snarled at Paul, which was unfortunate as it was a reasonable question. I was on two panels; one, on LAMP, was interesting (Zend’s Doron Gerstel and ActiveGrid’s Peter Yared: “PHP rules!” Me: “LAMP’s growing fast, resistance is silly”). The other, on Open Source and Open Standards, was kind of boring, with Microsoft’s excellent Jason Matusow furiously reframing and recasting, and nobody else getting quite irritated enough to start the polemics, which may have amounted to cheating the audience. Oh, another thing about OSBC: the food is really excellent.

author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
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February 16, 2006
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