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?