I Have Come From The Land Down Under....

Friday, February 18, 2011

Along with an unintended tan from the Brisbane sun and a serious sense of awe at how large golden silk orb-weavers are, I came home from (LCA) 2011 with a bunch of new ideas from the plethora of terrific talks at the conference. You can find videos of most of the talks on the conference wiki but I have to call out some of my favorites here.

First and foremost, Vint Cerf, Googler and co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols, gave a thoughtful and humorous keynote on where he thinks the internet is going, and what we need to do to get it there. Despite widely held concern around the rapidly decreasing number of available IP addresses, his deeply informed take on the situation was characteristically upbeat.

While Google has released more that 20 million lines of open source code through the years, we’re always trying to release more. My colleagues Dan Bentley and Daniel Nadasi gave an extremely useful talk about Make Open Easy (MOE), their program within Google to make the process for Googlers to open source code as fast and easy as possible, and how this methodology might be used by other businesses. They also talked about the challenges a project faces in trying to be useful to both the public and the internal teams that depend on it.

Last but far from least, I was wowed on Thursday by Paul Gardner-Stephen’s talk on “The Serval BatPhone: Making Mesh Mobile Telephony Practical, Anywhere, Any Time.” Especially in light of recent catastrophic weather events in Australia, the potential to free cellular phone communication from the constraints of significant and expensive infrastructure is hugely exciting.

This LCA, completely relocated because of extensive flooding 10 days before opening, was one for the record books. As always, LCA was stimulating, exhausting, warm, and a wonderfully well-organized meeting of over 700 curious minds.

By Cat Allman, Open Source Team