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ATO ’14 Off to a Good Start

Walking through the noisy between sessions crowd, I asked Charley Rich (not the dead country singer, he assured me) if he’d been at All Things Open last year. He hadn’t. Rich had rented a booth at the conference and had come down from Long Island to unveil his new SaaS product, jKool. We were looking for a reasonably quiet place where we could sit for an interview.

I pointed out that ATO was only in its second year. “Last year it was really good,” I said. “This year is even better.”

I’d been saying that all day, since about an hour or so after I arrived for day one of ATO’s second go. I’m not being paid to shill for the event or anything like that — I’m just truly impressed.

Of course, some may think that I impress much too easily.

Things got rolling at nine, or a little later, after Todd Lewis played master of ceremonies by introducing Nancy McFarland, Raleigh’s mayor.

“Raleigh understands the importance of technology in all facets of business and private life,” she said, after pointing the importance of open source to the city’s economy. “We’re committed to innovation and supporting the open source community.”

Jeffery Hammond of Forrester Research was the opening keynote speaker. Among other things, he talked about the growing importance of open source in the enterprise. One of the reason’s behind this growth, he explained, revolves around money. For reasons that go far beyond the notion of “free beer” licenses, open source makes software development cheaper. That, combined with the continuing drop in hardware prices, has made technology much less expensive for the enterprise.

As expected from a rep from Forrester, he had a surplus of figures to support his claims.

The second morning keynote speaker was Dwight Merriman, co-founder of DoubleClick and MongoDB, who also talked about the economics of open source and offered more than a few reasons why open source it the way of the future in the enterprise.

The after lunch keynote was given by Bob Geolas of Research Triangle Park.


The original plan was to have this written and up last night, but after getting up at 4:30 a.m. (I usually sleep til the crack of noon) for the two hour drive (it took about 2 1/2 hours — I got lost) from rural Surry County to Raleigh, followed by a day conferencing, that didn’t happen. What did happen was the bed at the Red Roof Inn. My bad.

But, as I already said, day one of the conference was great, even though I only had the chance to catch a couple of the sessions and all but one of the keynotes.

Mainly I spent my time meeting some wonderful people. I spent a half hour or so talking with Mr. Rich about his jKool project — there will be more about that in a week or so here on FOSS Force. I’ll also be letting you know about the enlightening conversation I had with Dwight Merriman, who definitely has some opinions on open source, both on its use in the enterprise and on his future in consumer space.

Perhaps the most inspiring presentation yesterday that I experienced was the closing keynote by Doug Cutting of Cloudera, who talked about the dangers of massive data collection, which affects us all. Inspiring, because he also offered solutions. Not solutions set in stone, but solutions meant to begin a dialog.

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