Third QualiPSo Conference - OWF 2009
FLOSS, AT THE HEART OF THE DIGITAL RECOVERY
As a meeting place for exchanging ideas, hosting over 34 seminars, 140 prestigious speakers from 20 countries, 1,200 delegates, and many associated events and business meetings, the Open World Forum 2009 has definitively established itself as the worldwide ‘Davos’ of open technologies. It provided a unique opportunity to find out more about the latest trends and innovations in the area of open technologies. It also enabled senior corporate executives, politicians, technology experts and investors from six continents to discuss and exchange ideas.
The Open World Forum provided an opportunity to take stock, launch new areas of work and new initiatives, and identify the major paths for future development in the digital recovery.
The first finding, highlighted in the introductory plenary session by Matthew Aslett, analyst at the 451 Group, is that Open Source has won the battle for innovation, going in three decades from the status of an alternative to proprietary approaches to become a major component of enterprise computing and a foundation stone for the digital recovery. The Open Source/proprietary war has ended, with Open Source emerging as the winner. Major companies in the IT world (software publishers, systems integrators) now rely heavily on open software, and it is now generally admitted that the digital technologies of the future will be made up of a mix of proprietary and Open Source software. It has also become clear that so-called ‘blended’ models will dominate in the years to come: from now on, proprietary software will be infused with numerous open components. Proprietary extensions are increasingly being added to open software. The newer communities are generally led by commercial players. Giants of the proprietary universe such as Oracle, VMWare and Citrix have acquired key players from the open source world (Sun/MySQL, SpringSource and Xen respectively). Microsoft is contributing to Linux and has created its own Open Source foundation. In addition, the concept and methods of Open Source are now becoming much more widespread beyond the technological sphere, to cover new economic and social fields: the cellular enterprise, open government... This is an undeniable victory for Open Source, which could lead to an easing of the tensions between the different business models. But it is also a move that brings with it new risks, which could dilute or distort the original Open Source model and its fundamental advantages. Since the development of new technological paradigms and new ways of using IT, such as Cloud computing could profoundly alter the digital landscape.
The second key finding is that Open Source is now clearly perceived as the key to future innovation: not only because it offers a collaborative lever which enables the creation of solutions that some players in the IT industry – no matter how powerful they might be – would not be able to do on their own. But also because it improved the quality of the solutions it creates. A finding highlighted by Michael Tiemann, Chairman of the Open Source Initiative, who reminded delegates that if worldwide expenditure on information and communications technologies has now reached $3.4 trillion a year, $1 trillion of that spending is being wasted because of mediocre software developments. 18% of all applications developed are abandoned even before they go into production, and 55% of them are challenged: a situation to which the kind of collaborative innovation brought about by using the Open Source model offers a number of answers, by ensuring faster, better quality developments that can be corrected more quickly. The numbers are incontrovertible: while in proprietary software there is an average of 20-30 faults per 1,000 lines of code, Open Source is much better, at less that one per 1,000 and for Linux-based code it is as low as 0.2 faults per 1,000 lines. A vision further strengthened by Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, who stressed that Linux is an essential driver for innovation which is now omnipresent in everything from supercomputers to smart-phones, not forgetting embedded software. This vision was shared by Jeff Bates, VP of SourceForge, and then by James Bessen, who reached a brilliant conclusion by drawing a parallel between FLOSS and the open technology communities at the beginning of the industrial revolution, and highlighted not only the fragility and the risks of these models (historically, such communities rarely lasted for more than three decades), but also the multitude of factors which ensure that open technology is a phenomenon that is set to last for a very long time.
The third key finding is that with the prospect of its own growth, Open Source is facing a new challenge in terms of usability and its economic models: a point that was particularly emphasized not only by Mark Shuttleworth – who stressed in his speech the importance for Open Source to translate its technological superiority into a superior user experience, by optimizing speed, quality and design – but also by the debates hosted by the Open Source Think Tank, focused on the evolution of the economic models relating to Open Source. The development of the ‘Cloud’ will be decisive in this context, as participants in the seminar on ‘Open Source: at the heart of the Internet of the future’ also highlighted.
THE FIVE SUMMIT MEETINGS HELD DURING THE OPEN WORLD FORUM SET SEVERAL NEW INITIATIVES IN MOTION
In line with the Forum’s aim to offer a real space for exchanging ideas and for cross-fertilization initiatives, five summit meetings dedicated to the biggest challenges in the development of Open Source as a driver for the digital age were held alongside the event:
- OPEN CIO SUMMIT: the first summit organized by CIOs for CIOs enabled best practice in Open Source governance for user enterprises to be identified. A detailed report on best practices will be published in November, with recommendations for both IT Departments and communities.
- FLOSS COMPETENCE CENTERS SUMMIT: establishing the first international network dedicated to promoting Open Source software. Co-ordinated by the QualiPSo consortium, this summit brought together for the first time the directors of numerous international centers for the promotion and development of Open Source (from Brazil, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Japan, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the USA...) and led to the signing of agreements to launch a dedicated international network. This network was formally launched before the end of 2009 (http://www.flosscc.org).
- OPEN INNOVATION SUMMIT: giving a platform to 20 international start-up companies and presenting innovation awards to five of them. This summit enabled the state of play in Open Source innovation to be established, and 20 of the world’s most promising Open Source start-ups to present to a wide panel of international investors and systems integrators. Five of these companies have been recognized with awards, judged by an international jury of experts. INRIA, one of Europe’s leading research organizations, also used the Forum as an opportunity to announce the establishment of a new, dedicated research center, CIRILL.
- FLOSS COMMUNITIES SUMMIT: even closer synergy and relationships between the main Open Source communities. Bringing together the directors of the biggest communities (Apache, Eclipse, OSA, OW2, Trustee), this summit enabled further synergies and possible angles for future collaboration. In particular, the merger of the OW2 consortium and OSA was announced at the event, resulting in the creation of the world’s fourth largest Open Source organization along with Apache, Eclipse and the Linux Foundation.
- FLOSS POLICIES SUMMIT: further strengthening of European open e-government projects and an award made to Brazil recognizing the excellence of its public policy on the use of Open Source software. This summit enabled participants to update themselves on public policies relating to open technologies, particularly in the various regions of Europe. It was rounded off by the Open Source IDABC 2009 event, which brought together the main European sponsors of public open projects, to share best practice and initiatives.
Numerous other linked events were held alongside the Forum, enabling delegates to find out about the state-of-the-art and to launch new initiatives relating to technologies (PHP, Java, SaaS, semantic workstations...) and governance (the FOSSBazaar seminar). The Forum also acknowledged the increasing power of new ways of organizing enterprises resulting from FLOSS models with, in particular, a seminar on ‘The human factor: at the heart of the Open Source industry’. Finally, the Open World Forum has published a new version of its 2020 FLOSS Roadmap, re-evaluating its forecasts and identifying new strategic developments. This publication, which is the subject of a separate press release, is available at the Website: http://www.2020flossroadmap.org/
The 2009 event and the roadmap generated abundant and positive press coverage. A selection of press cuttings can be found at: http://openworldforum.org/press
Given the success of the Open World Forum, the third Forum will take place at the end of September 2010 in Paris, positioning itself more than ever as the leading global summit bringing together decision-makers and communities to discuss the technological, financial and social impact of open technologies and hosting the Third QualiPSo Conference marking the end of the QualiPSo project.
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