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Think, Code, and Experiment

2012 October 22

Last week the 5th Open World Forum took place in the very heart of Paris, and this year af83 was again strongly involved in this major European and French Open Source event.

We are totally dedicated to the subjects tackled and the values at the very heart of the Forum: “the Open Digital Strategies”. This is the reason of our unfailing involvement in organizing and running it. The Forum’s format has undergone a number of changes last year while I was Chairman. I really wanted to make the event evolve, to be more comprehensive, pragmatic and accessible, while keeping its forum and think-tank dimension: a place where ideas are born, an event after which communities change and projects are formed. Hence, two dimensions were added to the conference:

  • Code, to gather the best developers
  • Experiment, to share with the general public who is often interested but kept apart

This is the best way to reconnect executives, companies, developers and their users.

So for the second year, three tracks coexisted (Think, Code and Experiment) to put Open Source in everybody’s hands – decision makers, developers and general public – through various talks and demonstrations held by more than 250 speakers and exhibitors.

It was as always a unique opportunity to meet the key players of the domain and take part in in-depth reflections on Open digital strategy, but also test the latest Open Source technologies, attend high-level talks and see artists’ performances, new Open interfaces for the home and Open Source robot operating systems.

The Think track was richer than ever, tackling a range of topics as wide as Open Data, Cloud, Embedded Systems, NoSQL databases, security and legal issues related to free solutions, the importance of education and training, communities, prospective and strategy, Open Source business models, R&D and industrialization, mobility, Open standards, Internet of Open stuff…

These were covered in keynotes, debates between a panel of experts, feedback from CIOs, case studies, innovation awards and less informal exchanges between participants: two intense days! There were great speakers, for example, Ralf Flax, Suse VP of Engineering, who has the soul of a true Open Source developer.

For those still in doubt, this year’s conference confirmed several points: Open Source is not only for the lower layers of the information system anymore, and can be highly efficient for answering various issues, from small to global companies as well as public services and organizations. It is strategic – but it also needs a considered strategy. With the increasing importance of software in our lives, Free and Open Software are more than ever relevant, allowing each player to have control of key components. It also proved that the ecosystem is ever-growing, lively, full of innovation and energy and has real economic weight.

Along with the CxOs, the Forum once more gave room to developers with the 2 day Code track in collaboration with a lot of vibrant communities. It hosted for example the FUDcon FEDORA,, Android and GoogleTV presentations and workshops and many more on Cloud, NoSQL, and HTML5. aims to gather French-speaking developers from all communities involved with programming innovative technology and free languages (e.g. Perl, Python, Ruby, PHP, SmallTalk, Scala, Clojure, Erlang and Haskell). We had the opportunity to attend high level talks by, among others,

  • Harald Welte (German hacker involved in a lot of free projects such as NetFilter, OpenMoko, GPL Violations), who spoke about Osmocom and Erlang;
  • Dodji Seketeli (RedHat Senior Software Engineer) on the upcoming GCC4.8;
  • Christian Couder (Senior Release Engineer) on git bisect, a invaluable tool to detect regressions;
  • Michael Scherer on the benefits of devs and packagers’ collaboration;
  • A presentation of the robot NAO and how to program it by Aldebaran engineers

… in short, a geek’s dream come true! Some of the OSDC sessions were recorded and will soon be available online, so check here  to catch up!

Finally, Saturday was the occasion to welcome the general public, to exchange and experiment around free art, internet privacy and neutrality, and contribute to projects such as Open Street Maps. Children weren’t forgotten – with this year’s KidExperiment (the mini conference for kids, hosted/carried out by MiniShare, HacKIDemia and the “Petits débrouillards”) which included  workshops and hands-on manipulations to dive into programming and code…

Co-founder, AF83 and Bearstech, Chairman of Cap Digital Collibri Community, Board of Silicon Sentier , President of the OWF 2011 ( France)
Louis is the co-founder of two companies, AF83 and Bearstech. AF83 is a Digital Agency, providing cutting-edge development, marketing and UX design services, based in Paris and San Francisco. Bearstech is an Open Source pure player, which provides IS management services, as well as responsible web and product development services. Louis is also heavily involved in Silicon Sentier and one of the founders of La Cantine, and is the chairman of Collibri, the free software & “open innovation” workgroup of Cap Digital, representing 150+ French companies and labs working with new technologies and free software.

With the great help of Marie Ailloud.

Comments from Josette – Watch this space for details of Open World Forum 2013 – I will be there, will you?

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