Open Source Conference 2011 – Views from Amsterdam

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I’ve just returned from the Open Source Conference 2011 in Amsterdam, where a huge crowd – well over 600 attendees, from both the OSS industry and other businesses – gathered to hear the latest in open source (OSS) enabled mobile, cloud and social strategies.

The largest OSS-related conference I’ve been to so far, sponsored by Accenture, Red Hat and others, drew people from across Europe. Some attendees were at the CIO/IT Director level, many others were from the enterprise architect/developer ranks. While part of the audience was interested in what can be done with off-the-shelf open source solutions today, an equal number of attendees were there to dig into the technical issues surrounding the use and management of open source. But while their focus may have differed, all attendees were in agreement: open source is the way things are getting done, whether you’re the CIO of an enterprise software company, the CTO of a large financial services organization, or the head of development of a mobile carrier.

A common topic of conversation regarded the importance of managing the use of open source at enterprise scale – doing things right, better and faster. Attendees understand that OSS has enabled innovation in the mobile marketplace, is already the backbone of cloud innovations, and is speeding the delivery of social solutions in CRM and application development in many industries.

Most of the people I spoke with were interested in the technology side of OSS (and a good half of them were sporting Red Hat hats!). People from development and software architecture disciplines had lots of questions about the technical details of OSS management solutions*; probably a third of the discussions focused on business issues.

Keynotes from Anthony Roby of Accenture and Ron Tolido of Capgemini looked at the big picture. Tolido urged the audience to consider the ways in which using open source can mitigate volatility, especially in the emerging cloud and mobile markets. Accenture’s Roby discussed the consumerization of technology and the need for businesses to adopt new value chains in software development, using open source as the foundation.

In Europe, as in the U.S., open source is the present and future of software development, the enabler of innovation in mobile, cloud, automotive and other markets, and a great skill set to have if you’re a software developer. Cheers to Accenture, Red Hat and the other sponsors for a great conference.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference!

* In my case, the Black Duck® Suite.


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