Sitting in the audience for Day One of the June 2007 Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit (they should number these things). The room is full of Linux developers, open source luminaries and corporate interests trying to have conversations about what would make Linux "better". (Here is a pointer to the published schedule, for quick reference).
Next was a panel with Kernel Developers. Within that panel, there were questions about provisioning device drivers (in which Intel's PowerTOP was applauded and Intel was generally given high marks for delivering drivers to Linux (yeah!)). Also discussed were the topics of accessibility, non-english participation, and Linux for mobile devices. Despite Jim Zemlin's pleas not to "make sausage" in today's sessions (I wish he would stop saying that)...there was a bit of heckling (just showing again the friendly and informal nature of the overall FOSS community we love so much).
Second panel was representatives of Industry interest in Linux. Dan Frye said that IBM is really interested in Real Time Linux and that they like to think of themselves as members of the Linux Community. Christy Wyatt from Motorola said that although Moto is a somewhat fusty company [my words, although implied by her], they are working on Linux for Mobile Devices, especially in the area of tooling through Eclipse Foundation (which she invoked more than once). My friend Chris DiBona said that Google is dependent on Linux and tries to give back through projects like Summer of Code and hosting events like the one at which we are met. Lengthy discussion ensued about how good things are at IBM, Motorola and Google. Christy Wyatt especially had a lot to say about the importance of "owning your own ecosystem" (although she tried later to respin those words as "enabling"...oops ;-) )...shows that she wasn't lying when she said Moto has a lot to learn.
I predict that Dan Frye is going to get quoted a LOT (and the FSF should make a tee-shirt ) about his great comment when asked for the top two things the community can do for Linux..."When the GPLv3 is final...just CHILL !!!"
Last before lunch was the always sublime Mark Shuttleworth. Much of the content of his talk has been exposed in detail in his series of blogs about the big challenges in the FOSS Community. He talked about the importance of "Collaboration", including aspects such as managing "poisonous people" who monopolize conversation and effective working between projects. In general, he said he thinks that Federation and increasing Decentralization are the answer and called for new tools to be designed with these memes in mind. In terms of things that need to change, he said that translations and bugs and patches aren't "moving upstream" (I think I'd call this "flowing" because the prevalent "upstream" image implies a hierarchy and there's already so much of that). He called for better conduits that can broadcast completed work around the whole ecosystem. He also mentioned issues of authentication, and asked how we can remove other barriers to collaboration. Since he is a fan of "Federation" he pointed out that Standardization probably isn't the answer (is LaunchPad broken by design?), but he believes that better Project Management will be essential in future. Projects that are doing a good job? Mark thinks that GNOME is very well self-organized and does a good job of communiciating with other projects. For the Ubuntu project, Mark also took Mozilla as a design center. He pointed out that Microsoft's internal systems allow their internal developers to find and have conversations with peers very easily, and that similar inter-project equal participation is lacking from the FOSS world. As always, he pointed out lastly that we should all strive to focus on that on which we agree.
Okay, okay...now time for lunch (more afterwards)