OSCON 2008 – Day 3

I’ll spare the reader the session-by-session account ala yesterday’s post, but will lean more toward the general theme that seems to have run through the majority of the session’s I’ve attended the last three days.

There seems to be a huge buzz around all things cloud and mobile.  I won’t be as bold to say that the desktop is dead, but it sure doesn’t seem nearly as sexy as it once was.  It kinda feels like back in the late 90′s when everybody said that the internet would kill newspapers…but then it didn’t happen….but now fast-forward 10 years and that truly is the case.  It has become apparent to me that the days of a desktop being most user’s primary computing device are numbered.

It appears that as we get closer to network ubiquity, devices like the iPhone and EEE PC start to make a ton of sense.  It’s not that far-fetched that for a good segment of users, that a netbook will become their primary computing device.  With a flood of new devices now coming online, someone is going to have to deal with the issue of managable scaling…thus the cloud computing push.

There was a large contigent of cloud computing vendors/providers pushing their wares.  I had some interesting discussions with folks from the following services:

Personally, I’m going to try to spend some time with RightScale/AWS.  Currently Google App Engine only supports python (perl stuff in the works possibly?) and Engine Yard is Ruby/Rails focused.  RightScale+AWS lets me do whatever I want because they’re just running a XEN virtual machine image.

I have to wonder if folks care anymore about Microsoft’s dominance on the desktop.  It feels like most people have moved on.  Microsoft has virtually no presence in the MID and Netbook (yes, I know that the EEE PC can have XP installed on it) segment.  It feels like the mobile phone segment is about the same.  Please do not try to make an argument that WindowsMobile is in any way a serviceable mobile/phone OS.  With a billion mobiles being sold a year, that’s a damn big market that Microsoft doesn’t dominate.

One more thing…

I would be remiss to not mention another topic that has kept popping up throughout the week.  That is Open Data ( or Data Portability).  So far, it’s not been a straightforward process to share all this data that users are creating by Digg’ing, Flickr’ing, etc, etc.  RSS feeds can only get us so far.  The Open Web Foundation was announced today to help move down that path.  Some other items that have been discussed in a similar vein have been: OpenID and OAuth.

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