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03.10.2007 Openmind and MindTrek, day 1

I am currently taking part in MindTrek which is a which is sort of a high tech conference arranged yearly in Tampere. The whole of yesterday was a sub-event called Openmind which was all about Open Source. I had a really good time and all of the presentations I had time to see were utterly interesting. The day started with a plenary session where all of us were sitting in a big hall where Petri Räsänen from COSS delivered the opening words. It was really a delight meeting him in person as he was originally scheduled for a speech in the first seminar I arranged. Then there would be Carlos E. Montero-Luque from Novell, Monty Videnius from MySQL and Mr. To be announced from LiPS.

The Novell presentation was about convincing us that Novell has a good intent in its actions. I remain undecided. Monty talked about MySQL of course and he had MySQL hat tightly in his head. I remain a PostgreSQL user. LiPS was all about providing a forum for remaking what Openmoko has already accomplished. They were not going to implement anything and reusing the good ideas in pre-existing projects wasn’t mentioned. It seems like competition for the sake of competition but maybe people will have the chance to pick their favorites.

After lunch the presentations continued in three tracks: Open Source in Mobile, The art and magic of creating open source communities and Adoption of Open Source and Standards in Public Sector. I took part in all of them. First I ended up enjoying Ari Jaaksi’s speech on the challenges in mobile Linux. I missed a part of it by being a bit slow. Enjoying is the best word to describe it. It was a perfect start of a track with little new information. He sure is a brilliant speaker. After Ari, the track continued with GPLv3 talk which obviously made me discontinue listening. I changed to Public Sector where Carlos E. Montero-Luque was speaking about Novell’s success with the public sector. In his speech he mentioned that one of the reasons for the public sector using Open solutions is the additional freedom and control over the systems. That was pointed out in the next presentation by Pasi Nieminen, my boss, about the Muuli project which, although named after a non-reproductive animal, will have a continuation. The bottom line of the project was to create a Wiki for Finnish cities and municipalities about the options available in the public sector. I took part in the project by gathering the data for systems currently used by the City of Tampere. We had problems with some vendors not willing to actually tell us, people representing their customer, the most basic information about their systems.

For the final two presentations I stayed with the communities. First was the presentation about Wippies, a community somewhat similar to FON. I got my HomeBox for free in May and a WifiBox a few months later. This was not the first or the last “I am one!” feeling of the day. I also noticed that they have added some features to the box at my parents’ place. As a layman you could disagree with the Wippies representative about the fast pace of creating new features. Still, there is always something new when I have a look at the site. Pretty amazing.

The next speaker was Atte Joutsen from Star Wreck Studios. He was accompanied by Tommi Ullgren from Codento. It’s been more than a year since my last lunch with Tommi and it seems that their company has since then worked fairly much with the Open Source community. Currently Codento is helping Star Wreck Studios with creating a community for creating high-quality low-budget films. The studio is a spin-off from the studio behind Star Wreck. Their first goal is to create films with effects and models contributed by the active community they created almost accidentally while making Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning. The main point of the community, for now, is not giving away clock cycles SETI style but actually giving anyone a chance to appear in a film at least as a 3D model.

The day continued with the Summer Coders hired by COSS presenting their summer’s work. During the presentations I downloaded Exaile and Inkscape. They sound like something I could use. All of the four presentations presented a great job done by a young coder. The final presentation was by Jim Zemlin, better known as the boss of a Finnish kernel hacker. He is great with words. That was the most effective propaganda I’ve seen in a while and it affected me even though I am already a convert.

The night continued with discussing with members of the Finnish and international Open Source community in a restaurant. Open Tuesday paid for the wine because it was Tuesday. A lot of topics were discussed, thoughts were exchanged and I even got to touch a hacked iPhone. Yes, it isn’t a good phone and it has far too many security holes, some of them intentional.

I was almost drowned in information but somehow I still had the chance to do some coding. I am feeling efficient!