February 21st, 2008

Open Source Software meeting of the minds

Today, I had the privilege of sitting in on an Open Source meeting of the minds at OTBC, where a sizable contingent of folks from the Open Source community in Japan—programmers, entrepreneurs, professors, reporters—shared their vision for establishing a Mecca for Ruby enthusiasts—and a hub for Open Source—in Japan.

The bulk of the Japan team heralds from Matsue, a town on the north end of the main island in Japan. They are in the midst of developing the “Ruby City MATSUE Project,” a concentrated effort to make Matsue the “Mecca of Ruby.” The OSS Society Shimane also works in conjunction with the project to promote Open Source and Ruby.

Much like the efforts around the Portland-area Open Source scene, the MATSUE project is working to foster community building around codefests and the sharing of ideas on how to apply Open Source technologies.

The community is also lucky enough to have a university that provides a full semester load of undergraduate course work on Ruby, Rails, JRuby, and applying the technologies.

Besides their dedication to and focus on this effort, the group also commands some substantial geek-cred from the participation of Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto, one of the original developers of the Ruby language, who is a resident of the town.

After spending today with the OTBC and dinner with the Portland Ruby Brigade, tonight, the Matsue contingent will head down to Corvallis to visit with the Oregon State Open Source Lab.

So what’s the Silicon Forest angle here?

An hour into the meeting, the two sides of the table were already pitching ideas back and forth. Sharing concepts and benefits of pursuing Open Source development.

And that’s a thing—I’d like to think—that we’d be very happy to keep going.

This is the first—of hopefully many—meetings of the minds between the Portland Open Source community and the Matsue Open Source community that, with any luck, will develop into a “sister city” arrangement to foster both of our communities’ continued learning and development.

The next time these folks are back in town, I’d highly encourage trying to meet up with them.

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