We need a European OSCON

by Matthew Langham

After returning to Germany from this years OSCON I emailed Tim O'Reilly a couple of times to discuss something he said in the closing Town Hall, which was that O'Reilly had thought about an OSCON in Europe. However in the emails, Tim said that at the moment there were no real plans for such an event.

Even though (most of) Europe has a single currency - we still lack that single major open source conference. Last year the ApacheCon Europe was scheduled to take place but was cancelled due to the conference producer pulling out.

In the last six months or so the open source scene in Europe has started to move into the fast lane. In particular the awareness for open source solutions inside corporations and government is growing steadily.

At the same time, at the regional conferences that take place, presentations on open source solutions are always well attended. As the use of open source spreads, so does the need for people to get information on the software, new developments, use cases, inside views etc. However, many of the conferences in Europe lack the standard and pull of OSCON, because much of the information is presented second-hand as opposed to coming straight from the initiators themselves.

One great example for the increasing awareness for open source will take place in Gent, Belgium on the 19th of November. What originally was planned as the small birthday party of a small company has now turned into the largest gathering of Apache Cocoon fans on the planet. Nearly 100 people have registered to hear the latest on the XML platform. The advantage of this "conference" being that many of the speakers make up the Cocoon core development team.

One of the most interesting things about this get-together is that the attendees were attracted without a single cent of marketing money being spent. Using just mailing-lists, weblogs and word-of-mouth, people will be attending from Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, France and even the US.

Multiply this number by the number of open source projects being used and you have the potential for quite a large open source conference. in Europe.

The current economic situation is forcing more and more companies to look closely at open source as one way of lowering costs and yet retaining innovation. This would now seem to be an ideal climate for an event such as EURO-OSCON.


EURO-OSCON - what do you think?


2002-11-09 08:47:48
Eurocents of marketing
Thanks, Matthew. But to be realistic, I must add setting up this event has consumed at least one third of my time for the past two months :-)

OTOH, doing a (virtually) no-budget conference makes you focus on priceless things such as content and community - just like the old philosophers who thought starvation would bring them into the right mood for truly provocative thinking. And it has been fun all the way so far.

See you on the 19th!

Steven - stevenn at outerthought.org
'producer', 1st Cocoon GetTogether

2002-11-11 01:05:28
Hear! Hear!
I asked Tim the same question a few months back, and got the same reply, that O'Reilly & Associates have no plans for organizing conferences in Europe. I am convinced that this policy should change. Why not be bold and organize the conference in Central Europe, so that it can bring together Open Source advocates from the East and the West?
2002-11-11 09:56:24
FOSDEM provides a fine meeting place
There's an annual meeting in Brussels called the Free and Open Source Software Developer's Meeting:


I had the chance to attend one of these and found it top-quality. The speakers and attendees alike represented some of the most sophisticated trends in free software. (And the British office of O'Reilly was a sponsor.)

Like YAPC in the U.S. or the Ottawa Linux Symposium, FOSDEM pulled off a great conference on a low budget. Perhaps there's room for another conference with more amenities (such as meeting rooms that are all under one roof!), a higher price, and tracks for managers without quite so much technical background. I have no idea whether O'Reilly's in a a position to do it in Europe.

2002-11-12 02:46:25
YAPC::E has been a success
I think we can point to successful european conferences. YAPC::E has now been running for several years and continues to grow.

One of the great things about YAPC::E is that it is very much a grassroots event organised for and by the European Perl Community.

It would be nice to a large Conference in Europe that I could justify the expense to my employer or myself covering technology like Apache, Perl, PHP, etc.

2002-11-12 23:43:36
YAPC::E has been a success
I agree that there are successful conferences for singular subjects in Europe.
However we are lacking a conference that really provides an overview - like the US OSCON or even ApacheCon (if you limit to Apache Software).