Roger Whittaker

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openSUSE Conference day 4

Monday 21st September 2009

Sunday's programme began with Juergen Weigert on Legal Aspects of Distribution Development. Juergen made the usual sensible appeal to developers not to try to create their own licence but to use one of the (many) OSI-approved licences that are available. In passing he mentioned Poul Henning-Kemp's Beer-ware licence and the problems that it had caused with one large vendor. Most of the talk was devoted to how licences are accepted and verified in the build service, and a discussion of the correct form of licence strings to be included in spec files, with a demonstration of a new web-based tool ( for creating the canonical form of licence strings. If more than one licence is used in a package, these can vary according to whether there is licence aggregation, licence choice or licence mix.

Then there was a series of lightening talks by a large number of participants. These included Bryen Yunashko's appeal for more work on accessibility, Brent McDonald's appeal for people to use, publicise and contribute to kablink and ifolder, and Andrew Wafaa's mention of Bongo and appeal for contributors to its web interface. Sacha Mann mentioned his intention to create a special purpose medical distribution, and Pavol Rusnak mentioned the RPM summit that went on alongside the conference and told us that the results would be publicised before too long.

Although some of the lightning talks were well worth hearing, this part of the day could possibly have been handled better. At some other events I have attended recently (EuroPython, UKUUG) lightning talks have had subjects and a running order posted in advance (after volunteers have come forward) with mini-presentations strictly controlled by the clock. A slightly more controlled format leads to a more interesting session in my experience.

The last session of the conference was the closing keynote by Gianugo Rabellino of the Apache Software Foundation. This was an impressive and thought provoking discussion of what matters about open source software development as viewed in the context of that organisation, which manages a large number of projects on a remarkably low budget, and is able to act as a neutral ground between the big players in the industry.

On the plane beck to Stansted in the evening I found myself (quite by chance) seated next to an ex-SUSE person now working for a less green distribution in London. I got home about 10 pm, then it was back to work this morning.

Even more photos.