OpenMind 2005

I went to the OpenMind happening in Tampere Hall yesterday. The happening was great, I had the chance of hearing many interesting speeches about OSS and OS community in general.The day started hecticly with waking up and searching for camera batteries and SD cards, my mp3-player (which I didn’t eventually need, since I made an arrangement with Petri Räsänen of COSS Finland that I’d interview him via email) and my WIP Tux scarf (“Devil finds occupation for idle hands”).

After opening ceremonies, the first speaker Mikko Puhakka of SoberIT, a venture capitalist with experience of IT investing for over 10 years(?), told us about the current trends of the ICT sector and especially what intrests VC’s about OSS. The OSS, according to him, is a strange thing in the current investment climate, since it has made it possible to start new Internet service companies (web hotels, news portals, search engines, you name it) with almost no capital. That means that the people who’d really like to invest great sums of money don’t actually have that many companies to invest in, because they don’t need that much money to start the company.
Most of the innovative OSS projects have been started before the bubble broke back in 2001. Referring to that, in his last slide Puhakka made a suggestion for the community to form a national software bank, a repository for open source software, to keep software projects in safekeeping for future ICT companies, to help them build on what’s already been done instead of trying to invent the wheel all over again. Software bank would preserve innovations of dead projects.

Bob Sutor, the vice president of Standards and Open Source at IBM told us of IBM’s strategy of Open Source. IBM has given quite a few of its patents available for the OS community and I personally think it’s a great thing. His way of speech was truly American, and he was funny. I hope his attitude spreads around big proprietary software coding firms. He spoke quite a lot why IBM thinks “standards” (quotes because very few things in the ‘Net are actually real standards) are important and what action IBM is doing to get these standards more adopted in those areas that really need them most, education and health care.

Before lunch Nokias Valtteri Halla spoke about, the open source project that Nokia launched in May. It’s about OSS community creating software for Nokia 770, Linux / GTK based handheld Internet device. He commented Sutors notion that big companies are always surprised by the power of OSS communities, their speed and multiple points of views; When maemo was published and the codes released, people started programming software for Nokia 770 “emulating” it with their computers, creating software months before the actual hardware was released.

Lunch was great. For having only 95 cents in cash and being hungry as a wolf, green salad with herb croutons, baked veggies and ox breast were the most excellent lunch, especially since they were free. I sat next to marvelous people, with whom I had excellent conversation about communities and there seems to be a shift going on from doing things individually to doing things in a community, using software/Internet not only to do something but also to communicate, how social aspects of software are getting more and more important. I have noticed the trend but didn’t know that it already had a name, “Web2.0”. The persons I had the invigorating talk were Gerrit Visser and Teemu Arina. Gerrit even took a picture of me with my Tux WIP and put it on his Flickr page: here.

Being an Ubuntu user myself I felt really curious when Andreas Schuldei of Debian project held his presentation about “Sustainability and Revitalization of Global Developer Community”. I won’t comment it more than I’m not surprised that they are focusing on the community or that it’s on their agenda big time.

Unfortunately I had to leave the event for some pressing school work as Victor van Reijswoud of Uganda Martyrs University and East African COSS was just getting started, so I caught only the beginning of his presentation… and returned when Ashwin Navin of Bittorrent was already answering the questions… So I missed essentially two presentations that would’ve been very interesting. After that the director of Star Wreck, Timo Vuorensola spoke about the new concept of Internet movie, and how that’s going to change things around. Before, when returning from school I noticed Samuli Torssonen and after the OpenMind event had ended, changed a few words with him about pink ladyfit Star Wreck t-shirts with black print, those would be nice. Before leaving I talked with Petri Räsänen a bit, asked him for an interview and took a few photos (which I suspect are very bad ones).

After that I’ve been mostly reconstructing my web pages, yes, these, the one you’re reading now. For many years my pages have been in Finnish only, and since Gerrit seemed so disappointed when I told him I have practically nothing in English in the web and I’m increasingly active in the international Ubuntu community, now was the perfect time. I actually upgraded the whole thing to use PHP, which really is a very helpful way of keeping web pages in order. I reconstructed the file system so that updating the pages is easy with nano.


Mikko Puhakka
Bob Sutor
maemo (Valtteri Halla)
Dicole (Teemu Arina) (Gerrit Visser)
Andreas Schuldei
EACOSS (Victor van Reijswoud)
Bittorrent (Ashwin Navin)
Star Wreck

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