How open source got its groove back

| Print |  Email
Articles - October 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
1011_OpenSource_03
Kyle Smith (left) and Scott Campbell of Puppet Labs discuss new features for an upcoming software release. 
Photo by Michael Cogliantry
Not that long ago, the region’s place in the open-source community’s imagination was fading. Battered by the 2008 economic meltdown, OSCON failed to show in 2009 in Portland for the first time in six years, relocating that year to Silicon Valley. Its departure hurt not only the area’s open source luster, it hurt Portland. Jeff Blosser, executive director of the Oregon Convention Center, ranks OSCON as one of the OCC’s top 10 events each year, generating about $1.5 million for local businesses, such as hotels and restaurants.

If losing OSCON weren’t enough, the Open Source Development Labs moved from Corvallis to San Francisco the same year. Startups found funding difficult. The Open Technology Business Center changed its name to the Oregon Business Technology Center and broadened its mission beyond incubating open-source-related technology companies. It looked as though the idea of creating an open-source mecca in the region was turning into a myth.

But it turns out the Great Recession was just a hiccup in open source’s ongoing success in the region. OSCON returned for the second straight year this summer. According to Gina Glaber, the company’s vice president of conferences, while the Silicon Valley OSCON was a financial success, “Portland, overall, is a better match.” She says, “Yes, there are more open-source companies in the Bay Area, but Portland is a better match culturally.”

There is, indeed, a culture match between open source and the region. People cite the do-it-yourself attitudes in Oregon that fit the hands-on fervor of open-source developers. Others point to the link between the open-source community’s affinity for beer and the microbrew culture of the area.

When the devotees of Portland’s Puppet Labs software come to town in September for the company’s semi-annual conference, Luke Kanies has arranged for a tour of local breweries. He says the combination of open-source developers and microbrews “just fits.”

“When I’m pitching people to come here,” says Daniel Frye, IBM’s vice president for Open Systems in Hillsboro, “I always mention that we’re the biking and brewpub capital of the world.”

 



 

More Articles

Photo Diary: Forest Grove Farmers Market

The Latest
Thursday, May 14, 2015
IMG 8469BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

There are more than 160 farmers markets in Oregon, contributing an estimated $50 million in sales, according to the Oregon Farmers Markets Association. We checked in on the Forest Grove market, which for several years has brought local produce and food vendors to Main Street in the center of town.


Read more...

Knight Cancer Challenge No Biotech Dream

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The Knight challenge is an important instance of philanthropy. But we should not assume it will magically transform OHSU into a business- and job-spinning engine for the local economy.


Read more...

Man for All Seasons

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

A longtime technologist and entrepreneur, Dwayne Johnson, 53, is managing partner of PDXO/GlobeThree Ventures, a strategy and business consultancy in Portland.


Read more...

5 ways successful people kickstart the day

The Latest
Thursday, April 02, 2015
coffeethumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Are mornings the most productive part of the day?  We ask five successful executives how they get off to a good start.


Read more...

Foundations perspective

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Martha Richards, executive director of the James F. & Marion L. Miller Foundation.


Read more...

Up in the Air

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ANNIE ELLISON

Portland tech veteran Ben Berry is leaving his post as Portland’s chief technology officer for a full-time role producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at first responders and the military. Berry’s AirShip Technologies Group is poised to be on the ground floor of an industry that will supply drones to as many as 100,000 police, fire and emergency agencies nationwide. He reveals the plan for takeoff.


Read more...

Make the Case

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015

10 briefcases that mean business.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS