OSSG/FLOSS UK unconference – London 27/10/12

Saturday 27th October 2012

Venue: BCS, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HA (

What is an unconference?

An unconference is a conference where what happens is organized by the delegates on the day. The event organizers have to arrange something, the main one being a venue, but the rest is down to the delegates. So all the hassle of talk submissions, review and scheduling is taken away.

Typically at the start of the day everyone gets up in turn and says who they are, what their interests are and what they’d like to do. Based on this people write proposals on Post-It notes and stick these on a board. A moderator may read out the proposals in turn to gauge interest, and if sufficient the proposal will be put on a scheduling board (delegates may adjust the schedule to avoid clashes, etc.).

The unconference starts… Experience shows that the unconference format results in high quality sessions focussed on what delegates want.

Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

Why attend?

There are lots of reasons to attend the OSSG/FLOSS UK Unconference 2012, including:
* Keep abreast with new/emerging technologies
* Network with some of the people who are responsible for developing critical applications
* Become part of the UK Open Source community – build up informal relationships that can be invaluable in problem solving

Benefit from the experience of delegates with similar interests

For more information see:

Can Open Source alter and potentially remove the concept of unemployment in the UK? – London 03/05/12 1

The BCS Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG) will be holding an event at the BCS Central London Offices, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HA ( on Thurssday 3rd May 2012, from 1800 to 2100 hours exploring the question: Can Open Source alter and potentially remove the concept of unemployment in the UK?

This bookable event is free and open to all with buffet and refreshments. To book a place to attend please email Mark Elkins at

Background Argument/Proposition
For some time now in the United Kingdom (UK) and many other advanced economic nations there have been high levels of unemployment. This means that a large number of people are simply not able to exchange their labour for monetary wages. There are many problems associated with this phenomenon such as higher crime rates, serious health problems, low self-esteem, and a general feeling of not being part of society.

So what can Open Source activity do about this? In the first instance might it not be acceptable to suggest that those unemployed in the traditional sense could still add to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by being involved in Open Source software projects? Therefore in an unconventional sense they might be seen as employed. At the very least such involvement with Open Source software projects might help in making individuals feel of value to society. It might also be suggested that this idea fits with David Cameron’s Big Society concept in that the opportunity is there through Open Source to produce benefits for society through voluntary activity.

Another possibly way Open Source could alter the concept of unemployment is that people engaged with the Open Source community are in fact keeping their skills up to date. Such opportunity probably would not be possible in the traditional world of employment simply because unemployment offers no chance to practice skills in such a meaningful way. Better still the unemployed can engage in ‘cutting-edge’ innovative Open Source projects that push forward technological boundaries. In the traditional world of business, ‘spin-offs’ from such projects might well lead to increased employment opportunities as indeed could the resulting interaction between the unemployed and business working in partnership.

Alternatively if Open Source software coding brought about by open collaboration can solve problems then perhaps Open Source activity might be able to crack economic and social code to bring about solutions to reduce or even eradicate unemployment.

The Speakers

Mark Elkins, Chair, BCS Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG)

Gerry Gavigan, Chair, Open Source Consortium (OSC),

Michael Judd, Akuna Group,

Looking into the Future of HMG Desktop/Client side computing – London 04/04/12 1

The BCS Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG) will be holding a detailed event around the future of HM Government Desktop/Client side computing at the BCS Central London Offices, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HA ( on Wednesday 4th April 2012, from 1000 to 1700 hours.

Rationale for this event

With HM Government looking with renewed vigour at its computer systems and in particular what benefits open source may bring, this event intends to take a detailed look at what HMG Desktop/Client side computing may consist of in the near future. For example should it be based primarily around web services where accessible would not be platform dependent so that for instance Civil Servants can load whatever operating system they like on to an HMG funded laptop. Alternatively could the future follow more closely the success ( of the City of Munich using the Limux operating system based around Ubuntu Linux 10.10 or perhaps should some form of rigidly controlled thin client system running off of blade servers be used.

Another possible way forward is through the use of what has been termed the ‘Jigsaw approach’ where business applications are all fully vendor independent of each other and can be swapped from one product to another with relative ease. For instance one Office Suite or Browser product might be used for say 6 months and therefore form part of the HMG desktop for that period of time, but can easily be changed for another product after that period of time.

This bookable event is free and open to all with buffet and refreshments (Breakfast served from 0930, Lunch from around 1300, Afternoon Tea and Cakes from 1530, Wine and Nibbles from around 1700). To book a place to attend please email Mark Elkins at

The Speakers

Gerry Gavigan, Chair, Open Source Consortium (OSC),

Chris Kenyon, VP Sales & Business Development, Canonical Canonical is the company behind Ubuntu. Chris has had the privilege of being responsible for Canonical’s  commercial engagements with industry partners Dell, HP, Intel and ARM and has helped lead commercial growth of the company over the last five years.  Chris spends much of time on the road with customers in North America, Europe and China.  His present role spans commercial engagements with both end customers and industry partners.

Event Abstract:
– What do desktops of the future look like?
– How do we give civil servants, health-care professionals, teachers and the armed services access to the tools, they need?
– How would an alternative HMG desktop look like?
– Learning from large Linux deployments globally:
– What are some of the best practices for using Linux desktops and proprietary software together?
– What are some of the obstacles that large non-Microsoft desktop deployments face?
– Is a bring your own device culture an opportunity or a threat to the HMG desktop?

Steve Lamb, Open Source Strategy Lead, Microsoft UK. Steve works with Open Source developers, communities and business leaders to enable & encourage a growing ecosystem of Open Source projects on Microsoft technologies including Windows Azure. Steve is a technologist with solid business and communications experience who’s worked at Microsoft for the last ten years with the previous ten being specialised in UNIX. He thrives on breaking down unnecessary barriers, working with amazing people to understand complicated problems and helping communities be more successful. He has paid great attention to cloud technologies (and social media) for many years. Steve has spoken at major conferences around Europe including TechEd – he’s not “a speaker” by trade.

Event Abstract: Hands up who’d like to use a computer that takes forever to boot, is inflexible, obsolete and expensive? Anyone? No I thought not! Sadly this is the reality for users of the current HMG standard desktop. It really doesn’t have to be this way. My peers will present a range of alternative Open Source platforms. Open Source runs REALLY WELL on Windows Client, Server and in the (Azure) cloud. A MODERN version of Windows can give a MUCH BETTER experience though changing the desktop Operating System is only part of the solution. Having a sensible configuration is critical. Keeping it up to date is key. Keeping costs down is important. Freeing people to work HOW THEY WORK BEST is critical.

Richard Melville, Systems Architect, runs Cellularity (, a company committed to developing and producing the “Stellar System”, a small, silent, user-friendly, distributed desktop system running only free software. Interested in electronics at an early age, and designing transistor radios for fun, Richard first worked in the telecoms industry. Moving on to machine control and thyristor-driven dockside equipment he then decided to take time out and took a Sociology degree at Essex University. On leaving University he ran a PCB design company before joining Racal Electronics, a founder member of Vodafone, when the company was working on installing the UK’s first mobile phone network.

Event Abstract: The landscape of the computer desktop is changing fast, driven in part by the rapid developments taking place in the mobile arena.  Howling towers stuffed under office desks, running proprietary software, and creating an unpleasant noisy working environment are giving way to smaller, more energy-efficient systems.  Over the years we have seen vacillations between server-client to peer-to-peer and back again.  With the proliferation of cheap multi-core processors the time is now right for small distributed desktop systems.  With the low power consumption of such systems and the advancement of battery technology there is the potential of freeing the desktop from the constraints of the mains electricity supply.

Tariq Rashid, Lead Architect HOIT Technology Solutions & Assurance, Home Office, HM Government, explaining the “jigsaw” model and its suggested benefits.

Sam Tuke is UK Coordinator for the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). He has been using, developing, and promoting Free Software since 2003, organised and spoken at conferences in Sweden, Britain, and Germany, and is currently working on the Document Freedom Day 2012 campaign for Open Standards.

Event Abstract: Public bodies in Europe and beyond are making use of Free Software in a major way. From Munich City Council, to the schools and universities of Brazil, to the local authorities of Belgium, Free Software is providing new solutions in highly competitive public sector markets. Sam will introduce the most interesting of these deployments, and discuss why Free Software was chosen in each case and what benefits it brought. The talk will conclude with an exploration of the advantages that Free Software can offer to the British public sector.

Jan Wildeboer,Open Source Evangelist, Red Hat

Event Abstract: Building the New Now with Open Standards and Open Source – After a short definition of terms we will go through the history, present and possible future of solutions based on open principles. We will revisit some of the early projects that have worked and more importantly those that didn’t work to learn from their failure.

Open Standards, FRAND, and FOSS – London 29/03/12 1

The BCS Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG) will be holding an event considering the relationship between Open Standards, Fair, Reasonable, And Non-Discriminatory terms (FRAND), and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) at the BCS Central London Offices, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HA ( on Thursday 29th March 2012, from 1800 to 2100 hours.

This bookable event is free and open to all with buffet and refreshments. To book a place to attend please email Mark Elkins at


The Cabinet Office opened an Open Standards Consultation on 9 February 2012 which closes for comments on 3 May 2012. Within question one is the sub-question:

How could adopting (Fair) Reasonable and Non Discriminatory ((F)RAND) standards deliver a level playing field for open source and proprietary software solution providers?

Dependent upon on your viewpoint FRAND is possibly one of the most contentious terms that could be applied to FOSS because it conflicts with some potentially important aspects of it. As well as the view of the UK Government and the awaited outcome of the Cabinet Office Open Standards Consultation there is activity taking place in the EU Parliament that may affect the use of FOSS due to FRAND.

Aim of event

This event aims to unravel the relationship between Open Standards, FRAND, and FOSS and therefore make it clear what affect this relationship has for the practical application of Open Source. For instance – Would the use of the GPL licence and other OSI approved licences be affected?; Would the UK Government be constrained in what Open Source software it could use? or Could ways be found around such problems?

The findings from this event will be passed on to the BCS Policy Hub to feed into an overall BCS response to the Cabinet Office Open Standards Consultation. The BCS Policy Hub Consultation can be found at where comments should be submitted by 18th April 2012.


Gerry Gavigan, Chair, Open Source Consortium (OSC), will discuss Royalty Free (RF) Open Standards and FRAND, which will involve active audience participation in that discussion.

Empirical Studies of Software Development (including mining Open Source repositories): research at The Open University – Milton Keynes 15/03/12

The Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG) and BCS Bedford Branch will be holding a combined event on Thursday 15th March 2012 from 1800 hours at Hub Theatre, Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA (Location Maps) about Empirical Studies research at The Open University of Software Development (including mining Open Source repositories).

Please register for this event by e-mailing to your dietary requirements and your name and affiliation as it should appear on your badge. Sandwiches and beverages from 18:00.


Researchers from the Open University.


Professional software practice is easily taken for granted, but the best practice embodies knowledge, experience and insight that can be shared to good effect. Empirical studies of software development aim to understand how software is actually engineered and maintained in practice, in order to develop better techniques and tools to support software developers and managers.

The Open University has a strong research record in qualitative and quantitative empirical research of professional software development, drawing on methods and theory from cognitive psychology and sociology among other disciplines to provide analytic insight. Our research is based on field studies of practices ranging from small start-ups to multi-national corporations.

The evening will start with brief talks overviewing the various research strands, followed by mingling around posters, where you can learn more details and discuss research challenges and opportunities in your organisation. Topics to be presented include ethnographic studies of agile development and scientific software development, mining open source repositories for vocabulary usage and for assessing architectural evolution, studies of expert software design and of meaningful changes in software development.

UKUUG Event: Training Course by Damian Conway – ‘Presentation Skills’ – London 16/04/12

Full day Training Course by Damian Conway – ‘Presentation Skills’

Monday 16th April 2012

Ambassadors Hotel, 12 Upper Woburn Place, London WC1H 0HX


Description: The best and most effective presentations capture the audience
quickly, hold their interest effortlessly, educate and entertain them in equal
measure, and sometimes even inspire them.

This class explores simple and effective techniques for achieving those goals
in any kind of presentation.

The first half of the class focuses on preparation, content selection, visual
design, delivery, handling questions and effective techniques for presenting
various kinds of technical information (code, data, statistics, charts,
structure diagrams etc.)

The second half of the course is an in-depth tutorial on improving the ‘look
and feel’ of presentation materials – especially Powerpoint/Keynote/Impress
presentations. In particular, it demonstrates practical techniques for making
your slides not suck!

Tutor: Damian Conway is a renowned programmer, speaker and educator, best
known for his work on Perl programming language.

Previously as Associate Professor in Computer Science at Australia’s largest
University, for the past decade he has made his living entirely by giving
conference keynotes, technical presentations, programming tutorials and
professional training courses.

He has been keynote speaker at major technical Conferences such as OSCON,, OLS, Webstock, DebConf, and GOTO, presenting on topics as
diverse as quantum physics, website design, computational linguistics,
bioinformatics, and programming language design.

He has also been invited to speak and teach at Institutions such as Harvard,
MIT, Carnegie Mellon, U. Toronto and ETH Zurich and has delivered seminars and
taught classes for major corporations including Apple, Yahoo!, Amazon,
Canonical, Xerox, Qualcomm, Canon, Michelin, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

Places are limited – early booking is essential Early-bird rates available
until 15th March 2012

Open Source, Open Minds: Using web technologies to rescue geospatial data from the back office – London 03/11/11 1

The Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG) and the Geospatial Specialist Group on Thursday 3rd November 2011 from 1700 hours at the BCS Central London Offices, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HA will be holding an event on Open Source, Open Minds: Using web technologies to rescue geospatial data from the back office.

To register for this event please visit This bookable event is free and open to all with buffet and refreshments.

Blue Fox Technology designs and develops hosted web applications for mapping and provides a comprehensive range of cartographic and GIS services. The company was started in 1999 and its clients have included Experian, The National Trust, the RHS and various Local Authorities and Government Agencies. Opus is the company’s leading software product for publishing and managing interactive mapping and documents online. David is a Director of Blue Fox and is responsible for
converting business and sales opportunities into projects that pay the bills.

JDi Solutions designs and develops hosted web applications in support of e-Government priority outcomes for Local Government. Their e-Consultation system is used by 25 Local Authorities and was instrumental in helping South Cambridgeshire District Council complete its ambitious LDF programme, processing 33 consultation documents over 5 consultations stages in the space of 2 years. Tom is Technical Director at JDi Solutions and is responsible for turning technical ideas and functions into generic software packages that support a client’s business objectives.

Blue Fox and JDi Solutions are passionate about open source technologies and in producing software that is accessible, easy to use and rich in features and functions. The companies have come together to create a collaborative development team tasked with improving and extending its range of hosted software packages. These include a new Document System for authoring and managing documents for web and print-based publication and a Print on Demand system for web-based mapping that allows users to print maps at the scale, size and pagination they want.

Open Source knowledge/skills gaps across HM Government Part 3: Discuss the skills required to do open source Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) – London 31/10/11 1

This is the 3rd of several planned events being hosted by the Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG) that considers Open Source knowledge/skills gaps across HM Government with a Panel of Open Source Software suppliers. Part 3: Discuss the skills required to do open source enterprise resource planning (ERP) will be held at the BCS Central London Offices, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HA ( on Monday 31st October 2011, from 1800 to 2100 hours.

This bookable event is free and open to all with buffet and refreshments. To book a place to attend please contact Mark Elkins via

The format will be a question time, where the panel will be asked a question after which the audience will be invited to participate.

Rationale for this event

With many private and public startup companies emerging from public sector reorganisations, for instance in primary healthcare, there is a need to quickly automate administrative functions to keep costs to a minimum. Enterprise Resource Planning systems don’t just produce accounts, the provide agile front and back office processes required by most organisations. The panel will comprise platforms and partner companies from the open source ERP market invited companies support OpenERP, OpenBravo, OpenTAPS, Mamut, SQLLedger.


Chair Mark Elkins, OSSG

Michael Judd, Akuna Ltd

Alberto Lobrano, CEO of Integrating web srl. Partners of Opentaps for europe and middle east.

Eckhard Schwarzat, ValueDecision Ltd

Malcolm Newbury of Guildfoss will give an overview of the Questions (set out below) to be considered by a Panel of Open Source Software suppliers and the assembled audience.


1. Introduction : Who are you, company, platform, features?

2. Typical jobs: What does a typical sales, delivery, maintenance process look like?

3. Skills: What are the typical profiles of users/developers?

4. Sourcing/Training: What’s on offer, what is the market like?