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Samsung Meets with Techies for Open Source Expansion
Samsung kicked off the Samsung Open Source Conference (SOSCON), a two-day event to promote an open source ecosystem, on October 27 at the Conrad Seoul Hotel in Korea. The conference, which was established in 2014 and has grown significantly in just one year, aims to not only strengthen relationships with developers to lay the foundations for the creation of new services and devices, but also to foster public interest in open source projects.
Open source refers to programs for which the original source codes are made freely available to the public at no charge, enabling developers across all industries to modify and redistribute them. Openness and collaboration, two of the fundamental principles of this ecosystem, are also essential components of Samsung’s Internet of Things (IoT) as well as its objective to have all of its devices connected to the web by 2020, according to the president and CEO of Samsung Electronics BK Yoon.
As such, Samsung has invested heavily in nurturing the developer community, and has led initiatives to create engagement across various industries, with SOSCON being one of them.
In line with openness, the event was open to developers, and developers-to-be: elementary, middle and high school students with an interest in open source projects.
The State of Open Source
Brian Warner, Senior Open Source Strategist at Samsung Research America, got the event going by welcoming attendees and introducing SOSCON’s keynote speakers. Among them were open source leaders David Nalley, Vice President, Infrastructure at the Apache Software Foundation, and Jeong Kyu Shin, an open source project founder, who discussed the “multi-year journey” of open source, from its beginnings as communal code sharing to the highly structured and widely utilized ecosystem it is today.
Powered by peer-to-peer cooperation and communication, open source focuses on public benefit more so than any other factor. Young Yoon Kim, Vice President of Samsung Electronics Software R&D Center and board member of the Linux Foundation, demonstrated how Samsung is working to contribute to this community in his keynote speech.
Among these, Tizen, an open source, standards-based software platform for multiple device categories, is one of the projects that Samsung participates in developing. Additionally, IoTivity, an open source software framework enabling seamless device-to-device connectivity, is another the company is working hard to expand in coordination with other developers, in hopes of addressing the emerging needs of the IoT.
Collaboration for the Next Generation
Things got even more exciting when concert programmer Andrew Sorensen took the stage and treated the audience to a live coding musical performance, demonstrating that open source projects are influential across all industries. Sorensen performs at “algoraves,” events where people dance to music generated from algorithms programmed in real time. This growing community of tech-artists is often associated with open source software, which is used to circulate ideas throughout the scene.
The final keynote speaker was 10-year-old Hannah Kim. This pint-sized superfan of open source has been creating projects since the age of 3, utilizing circuits and light sensors to assemble her own dolls, toys and robots. In her speech, she credited her knowledge of programming to open source, as well as conferences which enabled her to communicate with other young future developers.
Kim also discussed how she created computer games, for which she chose Linux as her preferred operating system because “it can be used by anyone” and expressed her desire to be more like Linus Tovalds, the company’s founder and coordinator. At that, Tovalds himself was brought on stage to answer a few of Kim’s questions, which included why he chose a penguin for Linux’s logo, as well as his reasons for creating GIT, a widely used version control system for software development.
When asked about what the future of the Linux open source system might look like, Tovalds explained, “I don’t think I need to know. The only thing I need to do is ensure the process works and continue to support the people who participate and get interested people involved. I don’t know what it will be like, but I know it will be good.”
An Open, Ongoing Conversation
The remainder of the event consisted of a series of developer sessions that featured lecturers from renowned IT companies. In other sessions, participants were able to share ideas with teams from different open source projects at Samsung such as Tizen, IoTivity, Gear VR, IOT.js and Socializer.
Robust communication and information exchanges among participants were at the center of SOSCON’s community forum, while technology presentations covering over 40 open source topics including big data, cloud services and IoT were also conducted. In addition, there was a tutorial session open to children and teenagers to allow for hands-on experience with open source software development.
SOSCON showcased a number of ways that Samsung is invigorating the open source market, but also proved that anyone can participate in the conversation. Samsung plans to continue to convene SOSCON every year, thereby generating public interest and promoting collaboration and openness among the developers of today, as well as those of the next generation.