LinuxCon 2012  was off to a great start in San Diego Tuesday with a full day of Linux training and the Linux Kernel Summit . On Tuesday night, conference attendees kicked back at CloudStack 's fabulous rooftop party in downtown San Diego for drinks and socializing. Then LinuxCon and CloudOpen  began in full force Wednesday morning with the State of Linux keynote from Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin.
It's not difficult for Zemlin to come up with all the reasons Linux is great for this annual state of the union speech -- that's well established, he joked. But companies still need help learning the collaborative development process as more seek to integrate open source strategies. Such advice is particularly important now as the industry undergoes another sea change with cloud computing, he said.
"Software is the future of IT," Zemlin said. "If you want to build good software, you must master open source."
Zemlin's talk served as a good introduction to the next panel, "What is the Open Cloud?", led by John Mark Walker of Red Hat. The panel addressed the role of users as well as providers in demanding and creating freedom and choice in the cloud.
You don't get any rights that you don't fight for, said Greg DeKoenigsberg from Eucalyptus.
The panel seemed to agree that in order for an open source cloud to happen, everyone would need to be proactive in demanding what they need and in advocating for open standards. The panel was split, however, on who should take the most responsibility here: users, developers or providers.
Open source community members must push the conversation into their companies as users and providers, said OpenStack community manager Stefano Maffulli.
Citrix's Joe Brockmeier added that it's not up to providers to make sure the cloud meets users' needs in every case. Users have an obligation to participate in the community, he said, and it's up to them to demand certain rights.
The panel ended with a round of predictions that open source components would permeate every layer of the cloud. But, DeKoenigsberg warned, if the data isn't open it won't matter which cloud modules are open source. And Apigee's Sam Ramji appealed to companies to stay vigilant in keeping APIs free of copyright law.
The morning keynotes wrapped up with HP Vice President and Chief Technologist Kirk Bresniker on "Infrastructure and the Cloud." HP has laid the groundwork to ensure the basic infrastructure of the cloud works seamlessly with the layers above it, he said. The company's is also helping companies manage the transition between public and private cloud configurations using the open source cloud operating system OpenStack as the basis for its cloud services.