Thursday, July 26, 2007

OSCON: Thursday morning keynote

So I seem to have rolled into the keynote late, which is pretty odd since I arrived at half past eight, and the programme says the keynote doesn't kick off until quarter to nine today. Ben Fry is currently up front he talking about the Processing Development Environment. This looks like a pretty interesting, and is apparrently the library underlying those cool air traffic visualisation I talked about back in March.

Update: Next up is Robin Hanson talking about Overcoming Bias who kicked off by saying,

I'm going to tell you things that you already know...

and did indeed proceed to do so at length, without the aid of power point. This could have been a really interesting talk with the right speaker, Paul Graham perhaps? As it stood, he didn't really set the audience on fire, and that was disappointing, because with this audience and this talk, he really could have...

Update: Next up is Bill Hilf talking about open source at Microsoft, who said the expected things and made the expected justifications, although admittedly in interesting ways.

Update: Now we have Rick Falkvinge, the founder of the Pirate Party in Sweden, talking about Copyright Regime vs. Civil Liberties. Funnily enough, he got a lot bigger round of applause and a big "Arrrr!" from the audience.

Why does the Pirate Party exist? The file sharing debate tends to focus on economic principles. But copyright is a commercial monopoly, and means something very different today than it did when it was introduced. Copyright is commercial, but touches everywhere, and people are now being monitored for violations it's become a civil liberties issue, society must choose, privacy or copyright

If you're being monitored, in comes self censorship. If you don't have the right to private communications when you're in private you loose your identity. The copyright problem isn't about money, it's about viral civil liberties.

Politicians don't understand this...

The solution is to bypass the politicians and go directly to the voters. It's very obvious sitting here in the back that Rick's arguments have a lot more support in this audience than Bill's, and you have to take that seriously because most of the people in this audience make their living of intellectual property. Think about it, if the content creators don't favour copyright and patents any more, why should anyone else?

Update: The final keynote of the day is How to Ignore Marketing and Become Irrelevant in Two Easy Steps by Steve Yegge from Google,

Google will probably fire me for this talk...

He's talking about branding, and the fact that obviously you want people to use your software. He's kicked off with the whole New Coke and Coke Classic marketing disaster. They introduced it because the blind taste tests told them people liked New Coke a lot better, but that flipped around as soon as they saw the label. was like introducing a new God.

He's giving a great talk here, especially since he's facing the ultimate presenter's nightmare as his powerpoint isn't displaying on any of the half dozen screens scattered around the hall. Looks like the technical crew has given up trying to get it to work as well, which is a shame, if he's this good just free wheeling then he probably would have been great with added powerpoint.

Now that's interesting, if your service is awful today, and perfect tomorrow, then apparently studies show that it takes an entire generation to change the perception of your brand.

Update: Both Brad and Chris were covering the keynotes.