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March 24, 2010

Where are we with open source software?

I'm approaching a job transition (more on this later), one that has me thinking about what kinds of things I've really loved during my career as a software engineer.

Four years ago I left Tufts University and transitioned to a considerably more closed environment. Still working in the great open source stack, but not a lot of company interest or encouragement to be actively involved in open information exchange about technical matters surrounding the use of open source software. I suspect this is the case with many businesses; publicly documenting technical issues or solutions to interesting technical problems doesn't always align right with the company vision and culture.

I guess the lack of being able to speak openly has also curbed the amount of time listening. I find myself wondering "what's going on in open source software these days."

I see Jeremy is still talking about it. There's still an Open Source Convention (last time I attended was in 2007). Looks like there's still an Open Source Business Conference as well, but doesn't seem like it's as high profile as it was back in the early 2000s. OSBC makes me think about Matt Asay who still appears to be writing The Open Road (not that I agree him).

I've all but lost touch with the MySQL community (last conference attended was also 2007). Does the same great community still exist, or has the Sun acquisition, departure of Marten Mikos and others, Drizzle fork, formation of MontyAB, and acquisition by Oracle put what was there under the MySQL umbrella to rest? Brian Aker recently documented what's happened with MySQL employees, Planet MySQL seems surprisingly alive with active from both familiar and new folks.

These were some of the most prominent sources of open source news, but the list goes on.

I'm sure *something* has changed, open source software can't be in the exact same position it was 4 years ago. I'm curious to understand what has happened. A few weeks back I introduced the RSS aggregator back into my daily activity, which has been good. Putting a few of these in to start seeing more about where things are.

Posted by mike at March 24, 2010 10:22 AM