Day 3 of the European Open Source Convention 2006

Posted on September 20, 2006

These are the notes I’ve taken during the talks on the third day of the 2006 edition of the O’Reilly European Open Source Convention (better known as EuroOSCON 2006).

You can get to the index page for my notes on this conference here.

Jabber: the state of the bulb

Speaker: Peter Saint-Andre

  • Jabber is powered by streaming XML
  • Streaming bits on real time everywhere, more like a real-time Internet-supported application server really
  • Use your own namespaces to send/receive most anything you want
  • All open-standards

Dare, Care & Share

Speaker: Tor Nørretranders

Defending the hard path

  • Why do people choose to do something that is inherently difficult? (Especially if they choose to do it because it is difficult…)
  • Potlatch - The ritual of showing your strength (a village/tribal chief’s strength) by giving gifts, especially gifts which create waste, which are resource-limited. He who could waste the most was the strongest
  • Wasting will advertise your resources
  • The natural world works like this also, see the ugly (dangerous) feathers on the peacock’s tail
  • The handicap principle states this same notion (this principle was mathematically proved on the basis that “genes that go for a silly, costly display have a better chance of reproducing”)
  • Taking something difficult which someone has already done and doing it in a slightly more difficult way will, therefore, make you more appreciated. This will spawn multiple derivations from the original thing and lead to greater “evolution

Why did the Web create a gift economy?

  • Hau - The spirit of the gift. Gifts create societies and relationships.
  • A gift creates a “debt” of sorts because the hau (the spirit of the gift) will always be trying to get back at the gift giver. In an economic exchange, in contrast, people pay for the good so there is no sense of “obligation” afterwards
  • We live in a market economy with huge pockets of gift economy:
    • family
    • neighbourhood
    • friends
    • colleagues
  • Most of our daily life is centered around the gift economy, as opposed to the market economy
  • On an economy of scarcity you show your strength by owning, knowing, closing, etc; on an abundance economy you show strength by giving, showing, sharing