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An Invitation to Attend the 5th Annual O'Reilly Open Source Convention

Tim O'Reilly

Nat Torkington

It has been fifteen years since the O'Reilly & Associates booth at the MIT X Conference was beseiged by attendees hungry for the photocopied drafts of our Xlib manuals. That was one year after Larry Wall released Perl 1 to the world, two years before Guido van Rossum would release Python, and three years before a Finnish student would post to comp.os.minix announcing version 0.01 of his free operating system ("just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu").

These days, Wall Street runs on the projects begun by these visionaries. You can't scratch a Fortune 500 company without finding free and open source software working alongside commercial software. As a result, the body of knowledge a programmer, systems manager, or administrator needs these days is an eclectic mix of decades-old best practices, modern innovations, and forward thinking possibilities. So we've looked for sessions and tutorials on making software from different worlds work together, reflecting the theme for the 5th annual O'Reilly Open Source Convention: "Embracing and Extending Proprietary Software."

For example, Larry Wall's progressive unveiling of Perl 6 continues. The author of "Programming Perl" will join with Damian Conway, Dan Sugalski, and other Perl 6 and Parrot luminaries to give the current state of Perl 6. The last year has seen the release of a radical rethinking of regular expressions, with a Perl 5 implementation, that is sure to have wide-reaching ramifications for other languages and systems.

Perl isn't the only open source project with a new version imminent. The release of Python 2.3 will bring new data types, unicode support, generators, and more. PHP 5 is growing closer, as are MySQL 4.1 and Apache 2.1. Because we anticipate a lot of interest in these "what's new" announcements, we've invited the leaders of key open source projects to follow Larry Wall's beloved annual "State of the Onion" speech with their own “State of” presentations, creating what we hope will be a new OSCON tradition.

This year's tutorials and talks include a Perl master class with Damian Conway, a day of Ruby, efficient SQL, PHP and Flash, building a single sign-on system, and other topics designed to teach useful real world skills. Sometimes, like an open source project, those skills aren't glamorous. Ted T'so's "Designing and Creating Great Shared Libraries" isn't likely to make the front page of Wired magazine any time soon, but anyone who has suffered through "DLL hell" knows why it's important.

This year all the familiar tracks from years past are back, such as Java, Perl, Apache, MySQL, Python, XML, and PHP. The newcomer this year is Ruby, an upstart Perl-derived programming language from Japan that's seeing grassroots adoption all over the world. We're also proud to be the host of the Python 11 Conference, the official meeting place of the great Python minds.

Another new thing is the location. Portland is a tech-savvy community with a fierce desire for a good quality of life. A good travel value, restaurants close to the convention hotel and attractions just a short hop away via the convenient public transportation foster more opportunities to connect with convention colleagues.

As the global role for open source software expands, so do the challenges and rewards for the open source community. It’s a pivotal, exciting time to be a part of it all. We invite you to the 2003 O’Reilly Open Source Convention to savor the fruits of the last fifteen years and get a taste of what's to come in the next fifteen.

Tim O'Reilly
Founder & President
O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.

Nathan Torkington
O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
Program Chair, Open Source Convention


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