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Tim O’Reilly: O’Reilly Radar

Tim O’Reilly: O’Reilly Radar published on 2 Comments on Tim O’Reilly: O’Reilly Radar

OSCON has amazingly short keynote speeches. This one, by Tim O’Reilly, is just under 12 minutes long.

And yet he managed to inspire me far more than most 20-minute, half-hour or (god help us all) hour-long keynotes I’ve heard. Starting with a quotation from Harlan Ellison about diverging images of Christ in Rio, he challenged participants to use open-source not just to sell to the enterprise, but to build a better world. The challenges we face together, he argued, need the collaborative skills of the open-source community and the software they’re creating. (As you can imagine, that message resonated with me.)

That parallels the evolution of O’Reilly Media, which has changed from being a book publisher and event convenor to an organization with a strong focus on applying technology in ways that “help good futures to happen”.

His presentation ranged from food carts in Portland to the relief effort in Haiti. If you like the cartoon, you’ll love the movie:


To start with, have a look at the video, where he cites a wide variety of cases where open-source technology is being deployed in the way he describes. Then, to get a flavour for his thinking around Gov 2.0, for example, have a gander at his chapter in Open Government. And check out his section of the O'Reilly site, which covers a pretty broad swath of his work around open technologies.

This is actually pretty fundamental to everything he's done with O'Reilly Media, especially in the last few years – right down to the open technologies they've embraced in publishing. So I find it easy to trust – and admire – his commitment to open tech and its application to positive social change.

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