UK Open Source Awards

UK Open Source Awards June 12, 2019 – a celebration of Open Source in the UK – call for nominations

I first met Greg Soper a few years ago when he contacted me to get involved in some open source awards his company, SalesAgility had started to host in 2009. They were happening again in 2014 and I helped him by tapping into my community to find speakers who were willing to travel, including my friend Karen Sandler and OIN colleague Keith Bergelt. In 2015, I took the step of being a judge of the awards, which was frankly daunting. I have since kept in touch with the Student winner, Edinburgh University postgrad student Riaz Moola who has gone from strength to strength as founder of Hyperion and now Co Grammar. Riaz was described in 2017 as “the Steve Jobs of South Africa”

Hyperion’s Founder Dubbed the ‘Steve Jobs of South Africa’ by the Sunday Times

No doubt Riaz’s success has been helped by his Student Winner’s bursary. Maybe our judging wasn’t so bad…

The awards have happened 5 times in the last 10 years, but not since 2015. With the massive move to adoption of open source across businesses and its rightful place as mainstream in our society by being recognised through events like the Redhat sale to IBM and move of major organisations like Microsoft to defensive patent activity through Open Invention Network, 2019 seemed like a natural time to do it again and for me to offer to help get this back on the road.

This year we have added two awards, one for the public sector and one for diversity in a project, bringing the total number of awards to five. The student award accompanied this year by a bursary of £1500 sponsored by Opus VL.

Judging is a tough task and this year will be done by the esteemed group of Allison Randal, Dawn Foster
and head judge Jonathan Riddell.
They have set the awards criteria and will be judging nominationsentirely independent of the event organisers.

All 3 judges live in the UK and, no doubt, need something to cheer themselves up, with Brexit looming. I have no doubt that reviewing the nominations for the awards and choosing a short list in May will do the trick.

I am looking forward to hearing who the winners are on the 12 June at the awards ceremony in Edinburgh, that’s the first time anyone at organisers Sales Agility and Trustable will know which lucky folk are the award winners!

You can see the criteria for each award, nominate yourself or someone else for an award and register for free places to attend at www.opensourceawards.org

The event itself is looking great (even if I say so myself). We have a wide group of international speakers of the calibre normally seen only at expensive open source events. The Awards, an afternoon of talks (from 2-5.30), awards ceremony (5.30 -7.30) and drinks reception (from 7.30), is free of charge to attend. You will be able to hear the speakers and take the opportunity to question them through the day, attending at no cost, at no cost and what a line up it is!

Allison will do a shorter version of her fabulous (for I have heard it) 2019 Alan Turing lecture on Open Source influences in Technology Innovation and Dawn who will discuss Good Citizenship in Open Source for companies.

Distinguished Technologist, Steph Walli, who is Microsoft’s Program Manager will be interviewed by Open Invention Network’s CEO, Keith Bergelt. Both were among the opening keynotes at Linux Foundation’s 2018 Open Source Summit Europe.

This year with the introduction of the Public Sector Award, Open UK’s public sector enthusiast and Chairman Stuart Mackintosh is hosting a panel discussion on the challenges for open source in the public sector. He will be joined by Sachiko Mato, the CEO of think tank Open Forum Europe and Terence Eden, Senior Technology Adviser to NHS England.

The awards ceremony will be keynoted by one of my open source heroes, Frank Karlitschek, founder of Own Cloud, Next Cloud and openDesktop.org, former KDE board member and apparently perennially a nice, smiley chap.

I was interested to read Frank’s open letter to the European Union on the proposed Copyright Directive last week . Supported by 130 businesses, it eruditely explains the concerns around liability for web content and the current take down solution, which will create an almost impossible burden on smaller businesses, if they are forced to move to liability for third party content by being “editors”, responsible for content not mere “publishers”. This could seriously impact their ability to compete with internet giants, decrease our freedom of speech on the internet and create a barrier to entry for new technology ventures. No doubt we can rely on Frank for an engaging and thought-provoking keynote (no pressure, Frank ☺)

None of this would have been possible without the hard work of Sales Agility and the thought leadership of Greg Soper and his new CEO Dale Murray. We have been nagging potential sponsors for some weeks now and it has worked as we have enough to fund the event. I would like to thank Microsoft, Codethink, Collabora, Open Invention Network, Open UK and OpusVL, without whose sponsorship the event would not be possible and without whom admission would not be free.

We hope that the awards will become an annual event and maybe in 2020 leave Edinburgh for the first time. Anyone interested in sponsoring this year’s event (there is definitely room for more sponsorship) or wish to help organise, sponsor or speak at next year’s event, should drop me a note, amanda.brock@trustable.io , @amandabrockUK

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