Open for Business 2016


09:00-17:00 at Hebden Bridge Town Hall, St. George’s Street, Hebden Bridge, HX7 7BY, UK.

Open for Business is an an annual one day conference hosted by the BCS Open Source Specialist Group and Open Source Consortium, that aims to explore key themes in open source software as they relate to service providers and consumers, across both the private and public sectors.

In 2016 the conference will build on the success of the inaugural event held the previous year which took a look at some of the broader challenges and opportunities, with first-hand experiences to dive deeper and consider best practices in driving effective open source adoption.

Once again we have some fantastic speakers line-up that bring many unique insights, including Mike Little, co-founder of WordPress which now powers a staggering >26% of the Web! Maarten Ectors, Vice President IoT at Canonical, Matija uklje, a lawyer and FOSS legal expert who for 5 years served as FSFEs Legal Coordinator, and Mark Kent of BT, who will be talking about the the development of a highly successful FOSS platform at the core of BT’s voice network.

As a result of popular demand from delegates at Open for Business 2015, this year we will be hosting a series of clinic sessions over the course of an extended lunch break, where delegates will have the opportunity to interact with speakers and learn from their experiences.

The conference will once again run as part of the Wuthering Bytes technology festival, which this year takes place over the course of 10 days and featuring events covering a broad range of open hardware, software and data topics.

Open for Business 2016 is sponsored by the BCS, Embecosm, OpenUK and Opus VL, and is free to attend.


WordPress: An Open Source Success Story

An overview of the history, success and possible future of WordPress, together with lessons learned and how they might be applied to other open source projects and in business.

Mike Little

Mike Little is the co-founder of WordPress. After he responded to a post on Matt Mullenweg’s blog about forking their blogging tool in 2003, he paved the way for WordPress success today. 13 years on and it powers more than 26% of the web.

Mike now runs, his WordPress consultancy, training, and web development company. Hes an author and has contributed to a number of open source projects, including DJGPP, CVS, MYSQL, and the original b2. He has run a WordPress meetup in Manchester for the last 7 years.

Many years ago, Mike consulted with UK Government on Open Source and strategy as part of the Domains Reference Group defining the cross-Government Enterprise Architecture (xGEA) (the successor to e-GIF ).

Making Money with Open Source

For open source adoption to expand dramatically there needs to be a good reason. Making money should be an excellent reason for most. This talk will explore monetisation and open source from enterprises to governments and from the data centre into IoT.

Maarten Ectors (Vice President IoT, Canonical)

Maarten Ectors is VP of IoT at Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu. His focus has been on how partners can monetize their solutions on top of Ubuntu.

Successfully guiding open platforms through corporate procurement

How to make your open platform a thing of beauty for any corporate procurement team to admire and desire. Understanding what motivates procurement decisions, how to inspire confidence, how proprietary vendors approach such opportunities, and how to form lasting positive commercial relationships. The talk will focus in detail on a genuine BT platform example which has continued to re-instantiate, grow and develop well beyond its original goals and markets.

Mark Kent (BT)

Mark Kent has over 25 years in BT, and is currently technical shaping and driving BT’s moves into business grade Cloud Voice VoIP services from the CIO. He was the technical lead for BT’s MVNO negotiations with UK mobile operators, ultimately culminating in the acquisition of EE. His time in Openreach involved leading the software design teams for OR’s B2B platform, following a substantial career in global and international voice and transport networking, which included the introduction of Open Voice Platforms for consolidating global networks, where a clear focus on technical and commercial issues was vital.

Mark has considerable experience in international standards as an ITU rapporteur, and designed an algorithm adopted by the ITU-R for measuring satellite link performance. Mark also performed deep testing on the first digital transatlantic cable, and introduced a fully automated monitoring and protection system for BT’s international backhaul network. Prior to joining BT, he worked as a software developer for a small consultancy, designed radio test equipment and worked in technical maintenance.

Mark holds an OU postgraduate Certificate in Management, an honours degree in Electronics with Physics from the University of Keele, and attended Ilkley Grammar School.

Mark is an active radio amateur, licensed in 1978 as G8PHM, and speaks regularly on open-source and amateur radio topics.

Running a business like an open source project

In this talk, you’ll learn how one company took the agility of open source development and applied its principles to running the business. Compose (acquired by IBM in 2015), began life as a company delivering open source databases on demand. It’s not just about how you handle open source as part of the development process though, even though that will be discussed. The virtues of open source collaboration can be translated into how a company operates with remote working, transparency and self-tasking employees. And all of this enabled by fluid communication across the organisation using tools that are open source too. Because that’s how Open Source development works.

Dj Walker-Morgan (Technical Content Curator, Compose)

Dj Walker-Morgan is currently the Technical Content Curator at Compose. He’s previously been the editor of The H, a publication specialising in open source and security, run his own technology news blog (, been a regular columnist for PC Pro and PCW (as David Evnull), been a software developer working with commercial and open source software, has written and released various projects as open source and he curates HackWimbledon.

Effective FOSS adoption, compliance and governance is it really that hard?

Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is becoming more and more ubiquitous and navigating the plethora of licenses does come across daunting at first. But is it really? In the past years there has been much development in automating tasks needed for effective FOSS compliance and governance. This talk will provide an overview of relevant tools and initiatives to help you not just comply, but govern and cooperate with FOSS.

Matija uklje (lawyer and FOSS legal specialist)

Matija uklje is a lawyer, geek and GNU/Linux user since 1997. A long-standing active member of various communities in and around FOSS including, Cyberpipe hackerspace, Linux User Group of Slovenia, Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and Internet Governance Forum Slovenia.

Matija has many years experience with companies, NGOs and governments on issues related to FOSS and open standards and spoke on these topics at several venues for the past 15 years, including LinuxCon Europe, FOSDEM, FOSScon Korea, Linux Business Conference, University of Potsdam.

For 5 years Matija served as FSFEs Legal Coordinator and finished his LL.M. thesis on the topic of copyright assignments in FOSS communities.

Just dont blow it!

The days of driving open source adoption are over. The truth is WE WON, and now it is time to enjoy it.

Today’s only rule of open source advocacy is dont mess up! Customers of all sizes in all sectors are adopting open source at an accelerating rate, and all we truly need to do is help them, first come first served.

The only way you can mess up in this market is by being weird. Dont.

In this session Mark will walk you through, from first-hand experience on the front lines, the realities of the market right now. Whos adopting, what, why and at what scale. You will learn simple, market-tested advice on how to generate more open source business, including:

  • Stay away from politics and philosophy
  • What customers really want
  • Keep jargon amongst yourselves, plain English for customers
  • Dont re-fight battles that are long over
  • Customers really do know what they want better than we do, so ask
  • Explaining the difference between GPL and BSD gets you shown the door, fast
  • Youre not a technology business, youre a customer service business

Mark Taylor (CEO, Sirius)

Mark is Founder and CEO of Sirius, and a veteran of the Open Source vs. Proprietary Wars. Founded in 1998, Sirius is now an UK Open Source flagship, serving Central and Local Government, Big Business, and the NHS with massive and innovative Open Source solutions.

In 2004 Mark founded the Open Source Consortium, which he lead as President for the first 4 years bringing Open Source Advocacy front and centre to the Government of the day.

After resigning from the OSC Mark acted in an advisory role to George Osborne, Liam Maxwell, and the team that would bring Open Source, Open Standards and Open Data as THE central plank of the incoming Coalition Governments Technology and Digital Policy.

From 2011 Mark chaired the Cabinet Offices New Suppliers to Government Working Group, instrumental in generating the new ideas leading to GCloud, the Digital Marketplace, and other breakthroughs in enabling Technology SMEs to gain a bigger share of Central and Local Government business.

In 2016 Sirius brought the first ever Open Source security product, StrongSwan, through CESGs CPA security accreditation to have it certified for use at the highest level in Central Government, a world first.

Mark has spoken out around the world for well over a decade on the benefits of Open Source, has written numerous articles, and has been widely quoted in the press. These days he spends his time with organisation like the Food Standards Agency, Greater London Authority, GCHQ, Europol, The National Grid, RS Components, Gatwick Airport, the NHS, and many others pushing Open Source software deep into the heart of the Enterprise…

Marketing in Open Source

Open Source is everywhere and almost everything that is built in the software world is built on Open Source.

In another world, large budgets are spent on acquiring and implementing technology but little of this spend find it’s way to the Open Source developers. Lets bring these worlds together and increase the size of the Open Source marketplace, and create more value in the ecosystem.

Through this talk, Stuart Mackintosh will share some of his leanings on the journey from a developer to marketing Open Source solutions and his endeavour to promote the marketplace as a whole.

Stuart Mackintosh (Director & Founder, OpusVL / Chair, OpenUK)

Stuart J Mackintosh has professionally implemented Free and Open Source software since the mid 90’s and is now chair of OpenUK – The UK Open Source Industry Association.

He is active in the promotion of practical methods to professionally implement Open Source Software across public and private sectors, and has supported the UK Government with it’s transition to Open Source and Open Standards. Stuart also works with various organisations including Open Forum Europe, FSFE, COIS and Apperta.

A background in hardware lead to computer networking and subsequently Stuart became an early adopter of Free and Open Source software with the aim of employing these approaches in a commercial setting whilst maintaining a balance with the Free & Open Source ecosystem.

In the late 90’s, he prototyped and developed numerous systems and processes that are only now being adopted in the marketplace.

In 1999, Stuart founded, and continues to lead OpusVL – an Open Source specialist company which provides customised business solutions, support and infrastructure. The company has pioneered and evolved process-lead Open Source implementation techniques, focused on achieving a successful outcome.

This journey has enabled the discovery of sustainable Open Source business models and methods of professional acquisition.

Creating an environment for Continuous Compliance within Open Source Software

Open Source Software is now broadly used in the development of software applications. The ability to reuse components of code already created allows development teams to create more code, with more functionality, faster. It also promotes the adoption of standards and makes applications more interoperable.

Although Open Source Software components typically require no licensing fee, it does come at a cost. This cost is uncertainty or perceived uncertainty in many cases. Most software developers will be meticulous about what components they use from the perspective of functionality as they want to build code that works.

However those Open Source Software components could have inherent business risks associated with them such as Legal/IP compliance, security vulnerabilities and operational risk. IP Investors, cyber insurance companies and business management are becoming aware of the need for demonstrable controls to be in place to mitigate these risks.

This talk will discuss strategies organisations continuous compliance culture which will manage the risks without impacting technical innovation. These strategies can be leveraged by both organisations implementing open source based solutions or by technical organisations are creating open source based solutions.

Martin Callinan (Director, Source Code Control)

Martin Callinan has over 20 years experience in the software industry specialising in software licensing, IT Governance and risk avoidance. He has seen the challenges of risk management related to various aspects of the software ecosystem. Martin is now focused on assisting organisations leveraging the benefits of open source software to create bespoke applications in house or through third parties while managing the business risks of intellectual property, open source component licensing, copyrights, security vulnerability management, and operational risk. The result for organisations should be a process of continuous compliance solution alongside a companys DevOps process.

To register for the conference click here click here.