Being a lazy blogger, I might not be writing this if someone hadn’t beat me over the head with a large obsidian spoon.
FOSS4G 2007 wasn’t a great open source geospatial conference. It was a great conference, period. FOSS4G is different. I didn’t once have a time slot where there were less than two presentations or labs that I absolutely had to attend. And there were far too many people at FOSS4G whose opinions I truly respect and I didn’t even get to spend five minutes with, though I was lucky enough to have a beer with some of them.
I agree with Adena that there was an aura of maturity around open source geospatial at this conference. The number of solid implementations I ran into (ouch), and the number of open source consultants with thriving businesses were amazing. However, this maturity was counter-balanced by an enthusiasm that spread out into the hallways and surrounding establishments in a way that I have never seen before. Clearly, you can get older without growing up… which aligns nicely with my personal goals.
One thing that I found interesting was the number of newcomers. Not just of users, trying to get a handle on what open source geospatial could do for them, but also folks from proprietary companies feeling their way around the disruptive influence of open source software. Both types of attendees seemed to be getting their questions answered, and learning that OSGeo (and disruption in general) has potential benefits for anyone who chooses to embrace it.
Next year’s conference will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, and promises to trump this year’s event. If you can find a way to get there, then do!
P.S. Before Paul tells people that I own the company, I was on the local organising committee for this conference. I didn’t do as much as some others though. People like Paul Ramsey, Dave Patton, Brian Low, Jody Garnett, Justin DeOliviera, and Sea2Sky (I’m sure I’m missing someone) deserve credit for smooth operations, and the well-prepared presenters, active participants, and willing volunteers are what made the conference as energizing as it was.