May 19, 2023

Open Source Summit NA 2023 Roundup

Matt Butcher Matt Butcher

oss conference roundup

Open Source Summit NA 2023 Roundup

Open Source Summit North America (OSS NA) took place at the gorgeous Vancouver Convention Center along the shores of Vancouver Harbor. OSS NA is renowned for bringing together a cross-section of the most successful and innovative open source projects, from the Linux kernel to cloud computing and on into AI and ML.

This Open Source Summit had several WebAssembly talks. I had the honor of presenting on how WebAssembly has outgrown its browser roots, and is slowly making its way… everywhere.

Finicky Whiskers Turns One Year Old!

At Open Source Summit Austin we debuted Slats the Cat, our finicky feline friend. Finicky Whiskers is a game that runs almost a dozen WebAssembly serverless functions. We’ve written a series on how we created the game, and how it uses a combination of WebAssembly and Docker containers.

Finicky Whiskers has come a long way since its first introduction. We’ve added a few new microservices, including a few iterations on a leaderboard. We built a mini gaming cabinet to house our iPad. And we’ve used a few more languages to build some of the services.

But the core code has remained largely unchanged. This is a notable achievement for an application that was written for the very first release of Spin. Twenty-one Spin releases later, and the game still runs perfectly.

The Fermyon Sticker Book

Fermyon boffin Karen Chu (co-creator of the Illustrated Children’s Guide to Kubernetes) created a fun new piece of Fermyon schwag: An 80s retro sticker book. This was the first time we’d given them away in North America (though we did bring a few to Amsterdam for KubeCon).

It comes complete with a starter set of stickers. And based on their popularity at OSS NA, we’ll bring a batch to every conference we attend! By the way, we do still have a few Finicky Whiskers paws key keycaps. (Fermyon software engineer Matt Fisher replaced his ESC key in that photo, but I replaced my Pause key.)

I May Have Predicted the End of Programming Languages

On the show floor, I joined John Furrier and Rob Strechay on TheCUBE for a lively discussion about what AI advancements mean for open source and for developers.

The conversation was fantastic. We talked about how AI can play an assistive role, and is more likely to augment jobs than destroy them.

I also predicted (and yes, I actually do believe this) that generative AI will render computer programming languages obsolete – or at least render them unnecessary for the vast majority of software developers. After all, a programming language is just a way for humans to express to a computer what we’d like the computer to do. And if I can do that in natural language, why would I bother with a stilted syntactically laden programming language?

Open Source in Sunny Vancouver

The city of Vancouver is lovely, and we enjoyed a few perfect spring days. As always, the best part about Open Source Summit is the cross-pollination. This conference brings so many disparate projects and developers under one roof, and it inevitably leads to spectacular discussions and ample opportunities for discovery.

We look forward to seeing you at Open Source Summit Europe in Bilbao this September.




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