Once again, Tim and company have put on a solid show.
I liked the keynotes this year, but they tended more towards the staid and predictable. Both sit-down plenary interviews (Jonathan Schwartz and Mitchell Baker) were candid and enjoyable. In years past it seems that more of the keynotes have been thought provocative while this year, I would only put two of the speakers in that category.
1) Robert Lang gave a fantastic presentation on origami. And this was not just your run-of-the-mill origami based on the little scraps of paper at the table of your favorite Japanese restaurant. This was computational origami and it will blow your mind. Only a single sheet of folded paper, no cuts. The thing that was so great about this discussion was that it was from left-field. It was not an open source vendor hocking his/her wares. It was a disussion of a notation model, the growth of a technology out of an art form, and it touched on the heart of the collaborative/artistic side of open source. I spoke at 23 OSS conferences last year and attended a few others (that is too many in my mind), and this was easily the most inspiring discussion I’ve seen. At Microsoft, we’re looking at numerous ways to increase transparency, extend collaboration etc. etc. – but this reminded me that we need to be looking for the unusual, artistic and compelling to share with community as well.
2) Dick Hardt, CEO of SXIP gave a very Lessig-esque (gave Larry credit at the end of his slides) presentation on Identity2.0. Again, the presentation reached beyond what his company is producing and rang the audience’s bell as to the concept of online identity. I have very little personal expertise in this space, but I was extremely glad I sat through the speech. Great stuff.
As for the track sessions – I did not see anything that was outrageously good – but everything was solid. If R0ml has any more sessions, they are going to need to rename the conference and include him in the title. (If you have not seen his Semasiology schtick you should check it out.) It was good to see so many familiar faces and as always, the best conversations were in the hallways. I’m looking forward to EuroOSCON in Amsterdam.