Phil and I went to the Developer Day in London yesterday, which was looking really cool from the moment we walked in the door. We were given our name badges, a t-shirt and a bag full of freebies including a mousemat, notebook, pen, yoyo, some goo, bottled water, a memory stick and a booklet on the products Google has for us all to play with. This was to pave the way for the rest of the day, as we were given free food and tea throughout the day and in the evening across the road was a booked out club with an open bar.
The morning saw Chris DiBona and Ed Parsons introduce the event. It’s interesting that Chris talked about how Google started it’s connection to open source from the introduction of Google Maps and Ed was talking of his love of geography and his excitement at the “geoweb” that he and Google envision. It got me tingling hearing how this kind of thing could change how information is stored and accessed.
Chris mentioned his excitement over the Gears product, and I have to say after seeing the talk on it in the afternoon, it does look really impressive. It could potentially replace 3 of my dock icons if say Google Calendar and Gmail were geared up like Reader already is. I have some deeper thoughts on this, which you can expect to hear soon.
I saw Chris DiBona talk more in depth about open source software, the origins of it in general, the reasons for it and what it really means. He’s a funny speaker, keeping you interested through what could be a boring mine field of law speak on the various licenses. In his explanation of Richard Stallman’s original problem of closed software, that I’d not heard, he suggests the only true way to be in control your hardware is to control the software and having it open so you can modify it to your own needs. Aside from making a lot of sense, you get a real feeling of Chris’ passion for open source and I urge you to go looking for it on YouTube, where it, and the rest of the presentations, should be posted in the next day or two.