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Event - Openness

Jean-Michel Prima - 7/09/2015

fOSSa 2015 in Nantes

Conférence fOSSa 2015

Created by Inria, fOSSa is a conference where scientists present the latest open source developments. The seventh edition takes place in Nantes from 23 to 25 September 2015. As explained by its co-ordinator, Stéphane Ribas, the event provides an opportunity to get a preview of the latest trends coming out of a flourishing ecosystem.

Seven years ago we invited David Cuartielles, one of the founders of Arduino, to talk about the strategy around this project, which is now very popular. We were among the first to welcome Adrian Bowyer, creator of RepRap, the first open source 3D printer project. The same applies toWikispeed, the open source modular car manufacturer. Some of the big names in open source across the pond have identified fOSSa as one of the must-see conferences in Europe for anyone interested in new trends and emerging concepts in the open sector . ” states Stéphane Ribas, initiator of the event and Research Engineer for the General Directorate for Technology Transfer and Industrial Partnerships at Inria.

The acronym stands for Free Open Source Software for Academia. Why that name? “To make it clear that we want to give researchers the opportunity to make their voices heard again. They have taken on a lower profile over the years even though, paradoxically, they still make a major contribution to open source development. That is why we wanted to create a conference where these researchers could present work, projects, and thoughts that are way ahead of actual events...

The event is organised by Inria in partnership with Fing, the LABFAB at Rennes and the University of Nantes. Inria has been involved in promoting open source for a long time, and in particular was a driving force in the creation of OW2. Launched to support the development of free middleware that would be neutral with respect to commercial interests, this international association now has 6000 members worldwide. “Open source software is now spreading de facto into every field of human endeavour: art, teaching, industry, health, energy, etc. ”  In France, this sector accounts for more than 30,000 jobs, according to the Open source panorama 2013 by the CNLL.

To reflect this profusion, the 2015 edition will emphasise four aspects. Starting with the very concept of open science. “In a context of competition between laboratories, is knowledge really being shared? To whom should a scientist entrust the intellectual property of his or her discoveries? Shouldn't better procedures for collaboration be invented? We will discuss this topic with the co-ordinators of Zooniverse. This citizen science site boasts more than a million participants."
Also on the menu: the citizen cloud. “Today, everybody is connected. We all have a smartphone and an internet box. So we can imagine using these connected objects to get rid of the centralised Internet as we know it today. " The third aspect gave rise to the publication of a best-seller: Open Design Now. “The authors of this book will come and explain to us how a creator can express himself in the context of open source, as well as launching a company and make a living. You need a thorough knowledge of the rules of the game and, in this case, the licences that govern intellectual property.

Last topic: education. “We are always interested in this theme. A lot of things are happening, for example with online courses published by teachers under a Creative Commons licence, which are then taken up and improved by other teachers. There are also many collaborative projects capable of stirring up enthusiasm for computer science in young people.Poppy, the little open source humanoid robot created at Inria, who will visit primary and secondary schools in the coming year, is the most recent example of this.
And where do companies come into this? “The big names in the industry are not knocking on our door yet. But we do note the presence of technology watch professionals. They are hoping to discover innovations, and trends in particular. They contact the project leaders and then handle the link with companies. These are people who are full of curiosity, and we are happy to be able to offer them a fresh and original conference.

Keywords: Nantes Stéphane Ribas Openness INRIA Rennes - Bretagne Atlantique Open design Zooniverse Creativ commons Citizen cloud FOSSa 2015 Nantes Digital Week