London Open Source Jam 12: On a Budget

Thursday, April 9, 2009

After a somewhat longer than usual hiatus, the Google London Open Source Jam was back to its usual Thursday night. With the G-20 in town, and the finances of the world a hot topic, what better to talk about than "Open Source - On a Budget"? We had a good mix of on (and off!) topic discussions, project updates, invites, and calls for help set the tone for some excellent discussions.

The five minute talks came fast and thick. The following folks shared more with all of us about their latest and greatest adventures into Open Source:

Matt Godbolt: Matt talked about his experiences working with FFMpeg on YouTube Mobile , and asked is "Free software really free?" (Conclusion: It's not free but probably saves a lot of work.)

Matt Godbolt's Inaugural OSJam

John Ripley: John helped us to build our own consumer electronics. John talked about turning your old toaster into an mp3 player. Why would one do this, you may ask? Well, if you've asked then this likely isn't the best project for you.

Matthew Bickerton: Matthew discussed TikiWiki, a multilingual Content Management System/wiki, how he got involved and why it's a good project for people who are just getting started in Open Source.

Carl Harroch: Carl gave us an update on the London Android meetup and invited everyone to come along for the next go 'round.

Tav: Does Tav have the lead on Web 4.0? He proposed "Peer Computing not Cloud Computing" while giving us an overview of the Plexnet platform.

Sam Mbale: Sam shared his thoughts on how he's getting people excited about Open Social in Africa.

Stephen Colebourne: Stephen gave us the inside track on Java Specification Request (JSR) 310 - Date and Time. What's the cost of developing a JSR? Is it really nearly 47,000 GBP?

Alp Toker - Alp, a WebKit developer, talked about the cost and compatibility problems that surround conflicting coding standards.

Simon Stewart: Simon presented some answers the age old questions "Isn't maintenance dull?" and "It's a real shame that writing code is so easy, but maintaining it so hard and expensive. How do we make it cheaper?" He talked about writing good end to end tests (possibly with WebDriver), and the benefits of the Model View Presenter coding pattern.

Simon Stewart, WebDriver Master

Chris - Chris shared a case study on saving a local business money by switching to some Open Source software. Chris' advice? Don't force the change, let the software stand on its merit, and Open Source does work.

Shaun McDonald - Shaun is works with Open Street Map to plan cycle routes without buying expensive data and routing software. Now we know how to do cycle routing on the cheap.

We hope our guests found the evening as fun and informative as we did. If you are in or around London, you are welcome to join us for the next Open Source Jam. Keep your eye on our London Open Source Jam site for an announcement of the next meeting.