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August 2, 2002

Evidence of Open Source's Wide Adoption Unearthed at O'Reilly's Fourth Annual Open Source Convention

Sebastopol, CA--Nearly 1,300 programmers, geeks, hackers, and open source advocates eagerly descended on San Diego, CA on July 22-26, bringing the 2002 O'Reilly Open Source Convention to life.

A notable theme of this year's event was "hybridization": commercial software vendors opening part of their code for community scrutiny and tinkering, and open source developers finding innovative ways for their tools to create income. The blurring of boundaries between commercial and open source ventures expands the options for all developers.

Two announcements made during the convention particularly illustrated the trend towards acknowledging a place for open source tools in proprietary enterprises. RealNetworks Chairman and CEO, Rob Glaser, detailed his company's new Helix Initiative, a collaborative effort between RealNetworks, independent developers, and leading companies to create and extend the Helix DNA platform, the first open and comprehensive platform for digital media delivery. Just hours after the RealNetworks presentation, Covalent announced that Apache 2.0, available in Covalent's Enterprise Ready Server, is now compatible with Microsoft ASP.NET, allowing Windows .NET web services applications to be run, for the first time, with the Apache web server.

The variety of the attendees' affiliations also points to open source software's more widespread integration into the mainstream commercial sector. Representatives from industries such as government, aerospace, computers and semiconductors, telecommuniations, finance, insurance, accounting, media, and pharmaceuticals rubbed shoulders with hardcore technical types.

Additional highlights of the conference include:

  • A panel discussion of how open source tools are used by government agencies around the world

  • Larry Wall's annual State of the Onion Address, and his introduction of Perl 6 with Damian Conway

  • Richard Stallman advocating free software, capped by his donning of "St. IGNUcius" garb, complete with halo

  • Larry Lessig's call to action to prevent stymieing of technological innovation by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

  • A state-of-the-art connectivity room provided by Apple, a first-time Platinum Sponsor

At the last minute, Bruce Perens decided to quash his plan to defy the DMCA by demonstrating how to break region coding in a DVD player, at the request of his employer, Hewlett-Packard.

O'Reilly editor Andy Oram summed up this year's event: "The threats to liberty and innovation are powerful and dangerous. But more and more people have not only tasted the pleasures of technological freedom, they have also built their lives, their careers, even their identities upon it...All the indications at this year's convention suggest that open source and the draw of community will continue to thrive and expand."

The Python 11 Conference will be a part of next year's O'Reilly Open Source Convention, slated for July 7-11, 2003 (location to be determined). Plans are already in the works for special events during the 2003 convention, to celebrate the company's 25th Anniversary.

Exhibition and Sponsorship

If you are interested in exhibiting at or becoming a sponsor of a future conference, contact Andrew Calvo at 707-827-7176, or andrewc@oreilly.com.

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