The second Open CeBIT in Sydney ended last week. Form­ing a sec­tion of the much lar­ger CeBIT expo, Open CeBIT focused on open source tech­no­lo­gies and solu­tions. I was involved in three stands: BizCubed (my employ­er), Linux Aus­tralia and Open Source Industry Aus­tralia.

In the mar­ket, FOSS is clearly matur­ing and becom­ing more main­stream. At a CeBIT a couple of years ago, I’d be answer­ing basic ques­tions like, “what is open source?”, “what is Linux?” and “how do you make money?” This year, I didn’t get any ques­tions like that at all. Most people knew some­thing about Linux and FOSS, and just needed some dir­ec­tion to get started.

We had much interest in com­munity and gen­er­al usage at the Linux Aus­tralia stand. Our Fedora, Ubuntu and Edubuntu discs were pop­u­lar. Of immense pop­ular­ity were our OLPC XOs, thanks to OLPC Aus­tralia. Vis­it­ors were genu­inely inter­ested in the units, and I didn’t hear any neg­at­ive feed­back at all. I do believe that a lot of people did under­stand that this is an edu­ca­tion pro­ject for chil­dren in the devel­op­ing world and not just a laptop project.

At the Open Source Industry Aus­tralia stand, I spoke to many people who were inter­ested in deploy­ing FOSS solu­tions to solve spe­cif­ic prob­lems. Many of these people would not have con­sidered FOSS in the past, so clearly our mes­sage is resonating.

Com­ing up in a couple of weeks (June 1415) is the Edu­ca­tion Expo. We’ve always been suc­cess­ful there, and all signs point to us repeat­ing that.

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