Back home after successful KOSS Legal Conference
The first incarnation of the KOSS Legal
Conference was a big success. There were many participants from a
variety of backgrounds, such as
- Independent Korean legal experts
- Legal scholars from Korean law schools
- International legal experts (e.g. Till Jaeger, Carlo Piana, etc.)
- Representatives from the major Korean IT industry
- Representatives of the community organizations like FSFE
- Independent technical experts like Armijn Hemel and myself
The discussions have been a big success, with significant participation
from the floor. There are many events that I attended where it was hard
to actually get any participation from the audience - but the KOSS Law
conference was definitely not one of them. Some of the questions were
easy to respond to, some other questions really tackled the difficult
issues in Free Software License Compliance.
What was clear to see from the Industry participants: FOSS License
Compliance has become an important topic in the last couple of years:
One the one hand as a result of virtually no TV set / mobile phone / PMP
or other device running without Linux or other FOSS. On the other hand,
I'm sure that the enforcement efforts of gpl-violations.org and the SFLC
also have had significant impact on that.
What I personally find important is that compliance is only considered
as part of the overall FOSS picture. Complying with the license text is
the minimum that companies involved with FOSS should do. Rather, they
should look beyond mere compliance and consider the benefit of engaging
more actively with the community, contribute code back upstream/mainline
and really becoming a first-class citizen of the Free Software world.
As a big surprise to everyone, Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation made a
surprise visit towards the end of the second day of the conference.
Many thanks to the KOSS Law center for bringing this together and
organizing such an event. Thanks also to the Korean NIPA (National IT
Industry Promotion Agency) and the FSFE for their support of the event.
Going to attend Korean FOSS legal conference
Recently I had been invited by the Korean Open Source Software (KOSS) Law
Center to attend their 2011 KOSS conference scheduled for November 17
and 18 in Seoul, Korea.
This conference is organized by the KOSS Law Center with support by the
Korean Government (National IT Industry Promotion Agency). Its primary
purpose is to share best practises in terms of FOSS licensing, license
compliance but also FOSS community interaction within the Korean IT
industry and the public sector.
I'm happy to present on Beyond Legal Compliance - Embracing the FOSS
community, where I will outline that the primary focus should not be
on to-the-letter legal compliance, but to a proactive way of interacting
with the FOSS community. After all, collaborative development is what
FOSS is all about...
However, due to a schedule conflict with the DeepSec 2011 conference in
Vienna (where I'm giving a two-day GSM security workshop), I'm only able
to attend the second day of the KOSS conference.
The speaker line-up for the KOSS conference is quite impressive, and it
includes Karsten Gerloff (FSFE), Till Jaeger (JBB), Carlo Piana (FSFE),
Keith Bergelt (OIN), Armijn Hemel (gpl-violations.org/Tjaldur) and others.
Unfortunately there seems to be no homepage, at least none with an
English language title that Google would be able to find. Carlo Piana
has mentioned the event in his
blog four days ago.
UPDATE: There now is a conference
page, although in Korean language only ;)
Some thoughts on the Erlang User Conference 2011
It seems I'm really getting too lazy to update this blog more
frequently, which is a pity. Last week I was in Stockholm attending the
User Conference 2011. This was the first Erlang conference I ever
went to, and it was the first conference in many, many years where I was
not speaking but merely a normal attendee.
Some of the readers of this blog will already have noticed my
microblogging updates on identi.ca and Twitter that I made during the
conference. They were not overly excited about the conference. Let me
write some more details here. I have no idea how many technical
conferences I have attended, but I am typically speaking at something
like 10 to 14 every year, which I believe qualifies me as a
"professional conference participant" ;)
Let me start with some positive feedback: There have been excellent and
technical presentations, particularly by Kostis Sagonas (PropEr), Melinda Toth
(Change impact analysis) and also the talk on Hashes/Frames/Structs as
new built-in Erlang data types by Kenneth Lundin.
However, apart from those, i have quite a bit of criticism:
- Some presentations ended way ahead of their schedule.
is a pity, as it means that some hundred-odd highly paid software
developers are then sitting in a room and wasting time. If you hold a
presentation at a conference, you should make sure that this time is
used in the most efficient way. If you have been allocated a 45 minute
slot, please don't make a 15 minute presentation + 5 minute questions
session. That's not what the audience expects!
- Keynote presentation by Ulf Wiger contained lots of hot
If I go to a technical conference aimed at Erlang users (i.e. software
developers who write programs using the Erlang language, libraries and
runtime system), then I expect it to be loaded with brilliant, technical
content. I want to get excited about new developments, Erlang software
projects, etc. The last thing that I'd want is having a real Erlang
guru on stage talking about superficial, trivial aspects of embedded
computing. Of course I respect the commercial decision of Ulf and/or
Erlang Solutions to try to create a market for Erlang in the embedded
sphere. But what is the technical relevance of this to the Erlang
community? Ulf did not talk about great new schemes of optimizing the
Erlang VM for battery-powered CPUs, or how he has extended powertop to
give function or line-level accuracy on which of your Erlang code lines
burn most CPU cycles or cause the highest number of CPU wake-ups from
low power mode. That would have been exciting.
- Erlang/OTP Road-map presentation without much technical details
When I see a slide with "Some SCTP improvements" then I want to see what
exactly are those improvements. I think there was more than enough time
to go into more details, if Kenneth would have spoken faster and put
more content into the available time. Once again, the audience is a
room full of intelligent, highly-paid professional software engineers.
If you get their attention for whatever amount of time, I believe you
should pack it as full with information as possible, rather than bore
them with slowly and carefully reading each line from a slide...
- No Internet available at the Tutorials
Can you believe it? In 2011, a technical conference aimed at software
developers hosts tutorials inside a facility owned by one of the largest
communications equipment suppliers (Ericsson) and then there is no
provision for Internet access. It's really ironic, especially since at
least some of the tutorial trainers expected the attendees would be able
to clone git repositories on their laptops during the workshops.
In my hallway conversations with other attendees (who also have a
background outside of Erlang and are more familiar with other
conferences in the FOSS community), they independently observed those
very same issues and agreed with my assessment.
All in all, the conference was a good trigger for me to finally sit down
and start to use dialyzer on the various Osmcoom Erlang-language
projects such as osmo_ss7, osmo_sscp and signerl. I'm already adding
type specifications all over the code and am looking forward to soon
starting with some PropEr test cases in the next couple of days.