A Moderate Approach to Moving Forward With P2P

by Derrick Story

A small ripple of concern emanating from the recent terrorist attacks on U.S. soil was the fate of O'Reilly's Peer-to-Peer conference scheduled to begin one week later in Washington D.C.

But like so many other troublesome details in times like these, a decision had to be made, and it had to be made soon. Keeping this date would present both logistical and emotional hardship for many of the conference's speakers and attendees.

So the O'Reilly conference team decided. Here is the first official statement from them about the event:

We are shaken, with the rest of the nation, by the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Due to the difficulties associated with air travel,
and after careful consideration of the challenges facing the communities affected and the attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors, we are postponing the Peer-to-Peer and Web Services Conference in Washington, DC. We are
currently negotiating the exact dates and anticipate having news during the next week.

Since I was scheduled to attend the conference as a reporter, I've been thinking about what decision I would have made had it been up to me. So, when I heard the official decision, just moments ago, it rang true in my heart and in my mind as the right course of action.

To explain why I agree, I need to be honest and state that there were two forces tugging inside of me concerning this issue.

On one hand, I did not want to postpone the conference. I think there will be important discussions about "security vs. rights." Those of us involved with technology need to figure out where we stand on that delicate line before advocating for, or implementing, new technologies that would prevent terrorist actions, but possibly at the cost of the freedoms we now enjoy.

Plus, it is my personal belief that we need to continue with the business of moving our society forward, especially when challenged by forces that want it destroyed.

For these reasons, I wanted the conference to continue.

But we have to acknowledge the emotional hardship, and the difficulties of traveling by air, for all involved with the P2P event. And for those reasons, I was concerned about the conference beginning just one week after the attacks.

I was lucky. I did not lose a friend, a relative, or a co-worker in the tragedies. Many, many others were not so lucky. We owe them the respect they deserve while they try to cope with this situation.

For these reasons, I wanted the conference postponed.

This is why I like the conference staff's decision. By postponing the event until late October or early November, we can move forward with the important issues that should be discussed, but allow time for healing for everyone touched by the terrible events of Sept. 11, 2001.

I know it's a small ripple to consider right now. But I'm happy about the decision.

There are so many decisions like these that have to be made right now. If you have a similar diffcult choice to make right now, I'd like to hear about it.