Canonical's Simon Wardley, software services manager at the company, talked in his keynote about cloud computing and how there seem to be many definitions of it. But he stressed it is becoming inevitable. "You don't really have a choice about cloud computing. You better start getting prepared," Wardley said. Cloud computing, he said, is a generic term describing the transformation of IT toward a service-based economy driven by a economic and technological conditions.
At OSCON Thursday, Cloudkick, a startup venture, was set to present on an open source project, libcloud, a software interface for working services such as the Amazon EC2 cloud platform and Rackspace cloud server. Featured in the project is a client library for developers to code against a single API, enabling applications to be portable across cloud providers.
Also during the morning keynote session, developer Kirrily Robert urged the crowd to seek inclusion of women in open source development projects. Women, she said, make up a small minority of developers in open source projects, except in the Dreamwidth project, which offers the Dreamwidth Studios platform for social networking, content management and publishing, and the archiveofourown.org. archive project. In these two projects, women are the majority of developers.
"Any step you take to increase the diversity of your project will work to broaden the overall developer core," she said.
Women, Robert said, have been subject to online harassment and even death threats. "I wish I were joking about this, but I'm not," she said.
Clay Johnson, director of Sunlight Labs, emphasized at OSCON Thursday the use of open source for better government and said he seeks to find opportunities for open source software and open source developers to change the country. Explaining his perception of how government works, he cited the end of the movie, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," in which the Ark of the Covenant is found and then locked away in a government warehouse. "We want to destroy this government warehouse," he said, figuratively.
The government spends millions on technology, including the Web, he said. Urging a change in the process, Johnson invited developers to participate in Sunlight's Apps for America Data.gov challenge. In this contest, submissions are to feature compelling applications that provide easy access and understanding for the public. Submissions also should show how open data can save the government money, according to Sunlight. "We can't afford to wait on government to change our country. We have to do it," he said.
The deadline for submissions is August 7.
Earlier this week, dozens of companies and organizations announced Open Source for America, an organization intended to promote use of open source software by the federal government.