Ben Ramsey

OSCON 2007: Day 5

As OSCON winded to a close today, I attended the morning’s keynotes, which I found to be some of the better keynotes I’ve seen at OSCON. They were entertaining, thoughtful, and weren’t filled with marketing drivel.

Jimmy Wales of Wikia (Wikipedia) announced Wikia’s acquisition of Grub and their intent to release it under an open source license. The concept is that Grub will run as a distributed search system, using the idle computers of people who have installed it to index Web pages in much the same way SETI uses CPU cycles during idle times. The goal is to make Internet search a more open and transparent process so that everyone can see how the search data is collected and used. Since it’s open, it can potentially be improved by the community and fine-tuned to perform better searches and return more accurate results.

Following Jimmy Wales, Simon Wardley spoke about “Commoditisation of IT and What the Future Holds,” a talk that would have otherwise been dull and boring had Simon not presented it in such an entertaining way. The basic gist is that, as new ideas develop and become more ubiquitous, they become commoditized, which is better for everyone because of the competition involved as businesses and communities compete to create better versions of the ideas/products.

Finally, the keynotes rounded out with Nat Torkington giving three keynotes in about fifteen minutes and James Larsson giving the humorous presentation “Pimp My Garbage” in which he showed numerous hilarious hardware hacks.

Now, I’m sitting in the airport enjoying PDX’s free wi-fi (commoditization done right!) and waiting on my flight. So, I’ll leave you with this moment of Zen:

Yesterday, I remarked about the free beer served at the Mozilla party that “someone should fork the beer and make it better.” As a result, a hilarious conversation and observation about open source ensued. Enjoy!

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