CollabSummit Videos: Communities within Communities

amcpherson's picture

A few weeks ago we posted video from the first day of our Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit as well as a dozen personal interviews with interesting folks who attended. (And believe me left out so many interesting people it’s painful to think about.) I’ve just been catching up on the personal ones, most of which taught me something new.

As I watched and/or listened it struck me how many communities within communities were represented at the Summit. When we created the event our mission was to bring members of the Linux ecosystem together who normally don’t collaborate enough, but who should. Developers tend to talk to developers, industry talks to industry, end users yell at their vendors, but often don’t get to talk to the “community.” So far it seems to have been moderately successful. [Sometimes I struggle writing about community since it can mean so many things to so many people. Just as Eskimos have a dozen different words for “snow,” we need more words to describe “community.”]

At the Summit, for instance, we had the kernel development community represented in full force by such people as James Bottomley, Jon Corbet and Arjan van den Ven (you can watch videos with all of them on the gallery). Then you had desktop communities such as  the Ubuntu project, OpenSuse, Gnome and KDE and the X.org project. All of the projects, while pieces of what most people consider “Linux”, have communities all to themselves. Then you have other projects, like Mozilla’s Firefox, represented at the Summit by Chris Blizzard. (His video is here.) Why was Chris there? Because the Mozilla community cares about the Linux community, since they are a significant user pool. He also was there to interact with the new Linux Mobile communities who attended in great numbers. They represent a different opportunity for Mozilla.

At the Summit, the most interesting panel discussion, for me, was on Linux mobile. If you didn’t attend and are interested in the future of Linux, you may want to watch this video. As Dan Kohn smartly says, soon the number of mobile devices shipping with Linux will dwarf all the desktops and servers in the market today. From Google’s Android to the LiMo Foundation to Intel’s Moblin, there is a fight going on and many different strategies to make use of Linux in the mobile space. For instance, Intel’s Moblin, as pointed out in the panel, is the most traditionally open and aligned with existing open source projects and development processes.

Why so many strategies? Why so many mobile communities? These are very hard problems to solve with the unique requirements of platforms, handsets and application developers. These projects are trying to address the fragmentation inherent in all. Security and user experience demands also make this a very interesting space to watch. The most crucial part to watch will be the momentum of the developer communities within and around their projects/platforms.

I generally think of the Summit as a collection of Linux ecosystem participants, but after looking at these videos, I realize there are communities within communities represented there. To find out more detail on workgroup meetings that took place at the Summit, you can find notes and slides here. I hope the videos are of use to people who couldn’t attend. Please let me know if you have suggestions.