Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My take on MOSC 2010

Just like I said in my lightning talk, this is not a rant, a fault-finding or a bitching piece. This is a sincere advice from a friend to the community.

Now, with an opening like that you can already guess I'm not going to say anything nice :). But you are wrong, there are some nice things about MOSC 2010. The talks were quite good. We have everything from mobile to server to desktop stuff. Things are practical and "actionable" and rarely we have philosophical talk. Which is good.

Food is another area worth praising. Food was never ending. On the first day, just when I thought they were serving lunch in the lobby I was suprised to know that what was served was not really lunch (well, at least not for the speakers and the business attendees). The real lunch was at the hotel's buffet. Unfortunately I was too full for the buffet ... (BTW, just between us, it takes a lot to make me full)

Now we talk about the bad stuff.

First, there was too much marketechture (did I spell that rght?) going around. The Microsoft keynote paid lips service to PHP and Java (by mentioning them once each).
Now Microsoft was there last year too, but last year we have Google, Mozilla and the now defunct Sun Microsystem to balance that out somewhat. Plus, we really put Microsoft in their place last year. You can really feel fear in their eyes. This year it was different. Sure, Microsoft's presence was not felt as much but you can see that they are grining from ear to ear. All that they fear is gone. They have the "community" eating from their hands. They feel their victory already. So much so, their keynote does not even bother to "suck up" to geeks like last year. At least last year, the apps created during the competition is open sourced. Now this year? I have no idea, it says that those apps are open sourced in the first place, where can i get it? I can't find it on the official competition page [http://conf.oss.my/mtc/].

Secondly, where the f*cking hell is Oracle? You know, Oracle, the company who bought the largest contributor to open source... yeah that Oracle. Why can't MDeC bring them to the table? Sure Oracle stuffs are mostly boring but they do have a few open source gems. Things like EclipseLink implementing the new JPA 2, or... they could talk about, oh i dunno... MySQL maybe? Now that they own it. I mean, gosh, a debate between Colin Charles and some Oracle "consultant" would be really cool to watch. Heck, I'm sure we can find a bookie or two easily in the crowd now that the World Cup is on :) ... my bet is on Colin KO-ing the Oracle consultant by round 2... any takers?). Or JSF 2/ MyFaces / Trinidad (is that out yet?). And since we're all about cloud, what about a talk on BerkeleyDB, one of the first key-value DB out there.

Tons of stuff from Oracle and MDeC could not even get them to come... heck, not even a booth. Now some of you might notice and shout "MDeC is no longer the organizer of MOSC you dolt!", well they are not and yet they bring Microsoft with them (yeah, sure, I'm sure it's OSDC who brings Microsoft in). They could bring Microsoft but not Oracle? Who's the dolt now.

And last but not least, where are the freakin' shouting and raving geeks we saw last year? Did they all decided to drop PHP/Phyton/Java and decided to go to the dark side? Or did all of them somehow got married (what has marriage got to do with this?). Somehow, someway, MOSC is being invaded by soulless business types who will clap everytime they hear a hype word ... you know like "cloud" ... clap clap clap.
Don't get me wrong, we need these soulless people because they are the one who pay the most >:) but last year, their effect are being countered by the geeks coming to the conference too. This time, it's just them and no geeks. So they can do all the freakin clapping they want. It's unbelievable.

I really hope, next year, we focus on "our" stuff, and real open source. We should classify the talks into 3: business, my own opensource project/projects I've contributed to and experiences. And to the academics presenting their papers. Do note that this is not a strictly academic conference. I.e. just because you can apply your artificial neural network to yet another non-existing problem doesn't mean we want to hear about it. (Actually, come to think of it, we don't). Your talk need to be special in a way and not just spew random buzzword du jour. It would be great if your stuff is open sourced, if not then it is ok, but in that case do talk more on how open source stuff is used. And open source stuff should be used fairly extensively in your project to be qualified as an MOSC talk... (btw, just because you use putty to connect to your server doesn't even make your project, even remotely, use open source "extensively"... no matter how you define "extensively").

It' a great lost that a whole bunch of geeks are not present during MOSC, citing reasons such as being busy, in between jobs and of such. (BTW, to those geeks who are present and contribute their time and energy, especially Fazli, Harris and the gang - kudos to you guys. You've done an amazing job indeed) My own experience says that being a geek the last 1 year or so was painful at best and almost destroyed me at worst. Heck, I almost did not submit a paper this year. It is unfortunate that MDeC has no one looking after the developer community. The guys who are present at MOSC (Ritz and his team - you guys are the best) are not directly responsible for community. Heck, I'm sure that they have to fight their way to get some form of "community" support from MDeC. I sincerely hope that this year's MOSC would make MDeC realize that they can do all the "transformation driving" that they want, but if the community is not following them... or worse, the community is going on a whole different direction (like, you know, down south), at one point, they won't have any passanger to drive anymore.


rafe - MDeC - said...

Cyber Merdeka!!! That 5 minute of lightning talk on osconf09 still linger in my mind as if it was only yesterday. I belived that 5 minute was a mind blowing experience that one rarely encounter. Personal experience shows that some of the geek really belived what has been express by you at that particular time and they live by that. Kudos the main organizer who have work tirelessly without stop to make mosc2010 a success. Without you it may not happened at all. Bro allowed me to comments a bit on your remarks of the conference. MDeC does not hold the executive decision of the sponsor we help in any way that we could bringing in anyone that we know but you can't blame us if a company like oracle does not want to have any part in the conference. Final decision is theirs not ours. We tried and we have fail but it doesn't pull us down InsyaAllah next year maybe. Arrangements of track and sessions were determine by the organizer we wash our hand in order to teach them of how impotent a contents are in a conference and I belived they did a good job being this the first time that they have personally manage it. I always belived that people learn in order to make great thing happened hope that you give them the benefit of doubt that they have learn a very valuable lesson over making mosc2010!

red1 said...

Bro, (it was brader but then that is philosophy)
Somehow i feel philosophy is needed always. Why, just the day before today at the Lake Club while listening to a Terengganu company who used OpenSource tools to deliver E-Learning and Groupware solutions to MOHE asking me how do i make money if they just download our ware and not give back.

Dude, this is another debate where you can apply your online booking portal to.

It is also due to philosophy that i prefer not to speak at MDec associated events. I heard last week from UTM's CAIRO head that MDec wasted RM70 for a company in the West that fails. And when i said, 'man.. thats a waste!', the head replied, "and that is only a small mistake'. Well, i can go on, but then i am officially blacklisted by MDec so its best to take this to the courts rather than the underground bookie. :)

red1 said...

errata: RM70 should read RM70million

red1 said...

oh not to mention, after reading Rafe's comment, i still remember this news story in the press from the MOSC 2009, "RM10 million for Open Source Projects"!!

Who the fark has the money?

rafe - MDeC - said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rafe - MDeC - said...

On the 70M wasted where do you get your fact? and how true is that stories that you claim! any prove mind sharing it with all of us here? or we have WASTED our time reading your comments here?..

red1 said...

Good thing you ask! Otherwise i don't know how to face such boardroom presentations from Penang down to Johor everytime they keep demonising MDec way ahead of me. You can ask them that in fact how i began to change sides and started to apologise on MDec's behalf, as the tales i hear are least to say shocking. There are more, but better i tell you in person. No problem bro, i am on your side :)

crf said...

Azrul I agree with you on every aspects you mentioned. Great presentation during the light talk!

My mind was thinking "what the hell" when I saw Microsoft being one of the only two main sponsors. M$ is pushing very hard to get into the open source community, and they will take whatever possible to attract clueless developers to use their platform.

By the way while I do agree that it is very important to get sponsors from open source giants such as Oracle rather than from Microsoft, it is also important to get more open source communities to really take part in the conference. Otherwise the conference would be too business oriented and become a market place for Red Hat et al to sell their products to CIO/CTOs, like what happened in OSSPAC.

My friend also mentioned to me that the quality of speakers varied greatly. Its like MOSC just accepts as many presentations as possible to attract as many audience as possible. To me its like attracting the wrong crowd to the conference. Heck I don't even want to measure how much proportion of the audience truly appreciate open source. To cope with the technical level of these audience, majority of the talks are very introductory and I feel that it'd be better to put the title of these talks as "Introduction to XXX".

I also feel that the environment is too large and too serious to have some more casual sessions, like Ubuntu jam, PDF exploit workshop, and lightning talks. The hall is so large and the distance between the speaker and audience is so far that these sessions become more like lecturing, rather than interactive session where discussions can be made without through the microphone.

When I asked few of my OSS elite friends whether they will be attending MOSC, they said that there's nothing much to see and going attending it would be waste of time.

So while the participation of Microsoft do is an irritating fact, I think there are also many other things to improve, if we want to get back our geeks to attend next year's MOSC.

Just my 2 cents. :)

oDiN said...

i stay at the conf till the end just to watch u give a lightning talk ..

it's a quality speech but not as great as last year (which i didnt make it)

and too bad .. not many people during lightning talk this year :(

Azrul said...

Well, it could be as great as last years' if I'm not distracted by the noise of people dismatling the booths and last year we had a room full of OSS supportes raving and shouting and clapping like heck, this year it was a bit disappointing