The Proof is In the Conference: Open Source Keeps Getting Bigger

OSCON is one of the leading conferences in the open source world, and it attracts thousands of visitors every year to Portland, OR. This year’s event wrapped up on Friday, July 24, and the Samsung Open Source Group sent about a dozen representatives to the conference this year to present talks, interact with visitors, and staff a large booth that featured demos of a handful of the open source projects we are involved with. We’re still a pretty small group here at Samsung with less than 50 people scattered throughout the world, so it’s important to us that we raise awareness about the work we do and OSCON is a good opportunity for us to do so.

Scratching Our Itches

In true open source fashion, Samsung went to OSCON in order to scratch the company’s own itches. In other words, like most companies and organizations, we were there to help promote some of the open source projects our company relies on. Our primary goal was to find new developers who would be interested in getting involved with our projects or who might simply be interested in developing apps for our platforms. From this perspective it was a success, and we hope to run into many of the people we met in the future.

Our booth had demos for four of our projects:

Tizen – We had all sorts of neat electronic toys for people to check out and play around with, all running Tizen. We had cameras, smartphones, watches, and even a Tizen TV for visitors to get their hands on. Our goal with this was simply to show off what is possible with Tizen, and to give people a firsthand look at the platform’s power. We even let visitors try out a golf swing tracking app that was built for us by students from Stanford.

Iotivity – One of Samsung’s biggest goals in being involved with the Open Interconnect Consortium and IoTivity is to help establish a common standard for interoperability in the IoT landscape. Our booth at OSCON demonstrated some of the benefits of this standardization by demonstrating how a multitude of smart devices could come together to provide transparent and useful applications for the office. The demo included door sensors, a Samsung Gear S watch, as well as a few “unintelligent” objects that could be connected to an IoT ecosystem and operate as a whole.

Gear VRf – We had one of the few Virtual Reality (VR) demos at OSCON this year. We met tons of people who never had the chance to use VR equipment, and it was a pleasure being able to provide these visitors through their first VR experience. This was the most popular corner of our booth, with a steady stream of people coming to play around with the device’s demos.

IoT.JS – This is our most recently launched open source project, and we are currently seeking individuals to get involved with the platform’s initial development. It’s a JavaScript library that provides access to much of the functionality needed to create smart objects, and is designed to run on a wide range of hardware, with the focus being on constrained devices.

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Open Source is Serious Business

Our biggest takeaway from OSCON this year is how open source continues to grow, both in impact and corporate adoption. Companies outside of the tech world are increasingly seeing the benefits of open source, allowing the community to branch out into new fields like finance, healthcare, and more. Additionally, companies in the tech world that previously fought against open source are now among the biggest supporters, demonstrating a clear trend towards the use and development of open source by modern business.

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With more than 4,000 attendees at this year’s conference, it should be obvious by now that open source is continuing to dominate the progress of technology. We met individuals of all sorts who work in an incredible range of industries, many of whom were mostly unaware of our efforts here at Samsung. At the center of this trend are events like OSCON, which bring together a diverse community of open source users, hackers, engineers, and IT experts. We truly enjoyed our time at OSCON, and we hope to see some familiar faces next year in Austin!

Author: Ben Lloyd Pearson

Ben is an open source technologist experienced in a wide array of modern IT tools. He's done a bit of everything, from web development, to systems administration, web publishing, and beyond.