The opening plenary of Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial North America (FOSS4GNA) was essentially a review for any of the 360 people in attendance already familiar with the topic.
First, Paul Ramsey of OpenGeo recapped a bit of history including Richard Stallman’s invention of GNU and Linus Torvalds' invention of Linux. He recapped the key parts of the open source geospatial stack, the success of community based efforts (including the fan-created version of the Star Wars movie) and how open source prevents software company monopolies.
The second part of the plenary featured Keith Barber of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). He spoke of the promise of geospatial for GEOINT and the need for a focus on usability. I saw many heads looking down at phones or laptops during the talk. One disappointed attendee shared that he hoped to learn how his firm could participate in NGA open source efforts.
- more coverage of FOSS4GNA