OSS2020: “People can pay what they want, even nothing”


Interview with Prof. Giancarlo Succi, Program Chair, 2020 International Conference on Open Source Systems

Q. Given that it’s the 16th year for the International Conference on Open Source Systems, what’s unique about this conference that has made it last this long?

A. The conference, which will be held online on 13-14 May, goes to the essence of software, which is knowledge. Software is knowledge production. Building software is similar to writing a book, drawing a painting, creating a sculpture, composing music, etc. All these actions were done since prehistoric times for the general people and were intended to be voluntarily diffused without requiring a payment. This is how, for instance, the Iliad and the Odyssey passed through generations of aoidos reciting them on public squares.

OSS2020 focuses on this essence, which is why is open source is here to stay and to become even more attractive in the years to come.

Q. Who is the intended audience for the conference? As a research-oriented conference, is it mostly aimed at academics, or are there topics of broader interest?

A. There is indeed a broader interest. I do not need to specify the number of ways profitable business can be made out of open source. Moreover, it is an amazing forum for students, who can be exposed to the newest trends in the technology.

Since this is the first time that the conference has been online, are there some things that you have done to adjust to the lack of a physical meeting location?

Well, in terms of structure, we have minimised and practically removed the registration fee, we have asked all speakers to produce a video preview of their talk, and we have organised the conference in a single track, so that people can watch it from home, mostly, with a much higher level of flexibility.

Going online has enabled us to attract a huge number of very high quality keynote speakers, panelists, and out of the box speakers. Overall, it’s an outstanding group of widely-known scientists and practitioners. I doubt that we would have had such possibility if the conference were held in a single place.

Q. Can you introduce some of the invited speakers and say something about the topics that they will address?

A. Specifically, we will have:

  • Odysseas Pyrovolakis, Programme Officer at the European Commission, who will discuss the current OS strategy of the commission,
  • Stefano Zamagni, Professor of Political Economy, who will present the fundamental mechanisms by which people are motivated to work, well beyond the monetary incentive,
  • Andrei Lopatenko, VP of Engineering in Zillow Group, will discuss the opportunity of Open Source in Data Science
  • Mirko Boehm, Director of the Linux System Definition for Open Invention Network, who will present their Open Source strategy
  • Amanda Brock, CEO for OpenUK, who will outline the latest actions of OpenUK
  • Vladimir Rubanov, CTO Software Engineering, Huawei R&D Russia, who will introduce the latest Open Source effort in Operating Systems
  • Marta Piekarska-Geater, Director of Ecosystem, Hyperledger, who will present how opensource enables business innovation
  • Dino Maurizio, President, Informatics without Borders (Informatici senza Frontiere), who will present the very remarkable projects done pro bono by volunteer software engineering professionals.

Q. Will remote attendees be able to ask questions of the speakers?
A. Yes, absolutely.

Q. Will there be conference proceedings with copies of the papers?
A. Yes, indeed.

Q. How can someone register for the conference? How much does it cost?
A. Just go to https://oss2020.website. People who have problems in paying due to the current pandemic, can pay what they want, even nothing, along with an explanation.


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