Oregon Open Source Showcase at OSCON

Jon Perr

In today's Oregonian, Mike Rogoway provides an overview of the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, which will be held at Oregon Convention Center July 24-28th. OSCON is not just the premier North American conference for open source software developers.  As I first reported a year ago, OSCON is increasingly a showcase for Oregon's burgeoning open technology industry.

There is no denying the increasing visibility of Oregon among open source press, analysts and industry players.  In May, CNN International visited Oregon to film a special segment on the global emergence of open source and proclaimed "Portland, Oregon is the unlikely capital of a global software revolution. The revolution is called Open Source."

The piece, which aired in Asia just weeks before Governor Kulongoski's recent economic development mission to Japan, featured interviews with Oregon open source luminaries, including Dan Fry of IBM, Stuart Cohen of OSDL and Linux creator Linus Torvalds.  (The transcript of the Torvalds interview is available here.)  CNN also spotlighted some of the many area open source community groups, including the Portland Open Source Software Entrepreneurs (POSSE) and Free Geek.

Many of Oregon's open source companies and organizations will be on display at OSCON.  In addition to speakers from Beaverton's Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), representatives from POSSE, the Oregon State University Open Source Lab (OSUOSL), Portland State's computer science department and the Software Association of Oregon (SAO) will man booths on the exhibit floor.  The Beaverton-based incubator Open Technology Business Center (OTBC) and many of its growing roster of resident companies will also be exhibiting.  (That list includes the new U.S. offices of Headwest and Innoopract, which came to Oregon from Singapore and Germany, respectively.)  The O'Reilly event also includes among its sponsors the industry analyst firm The 451 Group, which recently relocated its open source practice head to Portland.

The CNN special followed on the heels of other national press coverage of the Oregon open technology cluster since last year's OSCON.  In October, the AP and Forbes joined a host of technology and business publications in covering Google's $350,000 grant to Oregon State and Portland State for open source curricula and development.  The Christian Science Monitor proclaimed Portland "Softwareville, USA."

OSCON begins today and runs through Friday at the Oregon Convention Center.  Admission to the exhibits area (though not the conference sessions, keynotes and tutorials) is free.

(Full disclosure: the author is a participant in the Oregon open technology advisory group, a member of POSSE and has consulted with several of the organizations mentioned in this piece.)

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