Announcement: Open Source CMS and Blogging Tools Summit, Vancouver, February 7 - 9, 2006

This is the official first post announcing planning of the Open Source CMS and Blogging Tools Summit. I'm taking the opportunity of the Northern Voice conference (and especially the spirit of Moose Camp) to try and put together a mini-conference of a variety of open source communities.

The great thing about open source is that we can all share and learn from each other. Our only goal is to make our own "product" better and -- unlike proprietary systems -- there is a large incentive to work together on shared areas of interest. This is made even easier when there are other areas of overlap, like the standard "stack" of technologies that support these tools, from the Linux operating system, the Apache web server, MySQL and PostgreSQL databases, and Python/Perl/PHP coding languages.

I met with Zak Greant on Friday, who is an evangelist working with ez Systems, makers of the ezPublish CMS. Roland is going to be contacting local representatives of the Plone community, like Enfold Systems. Of course, the Drupal community will be here, with Dries Buytaert and other developers convening in Vancouver for our North American meetup (thanks Chad and Angie for kickstarting discussions about that).

I know that Matt Mullenweg is going to be coming up for Northern Voice, so perhaps he can extend his trip and talk a little WordPress.

In part, many of the ideas for this summit came about from a presentation by the Joomla guys to the DrupalCon Amsterdam 2005 -- we found we had a lot in common, and many areas of shared interest, from distributed user logins to templating engines. And of course, appearances by Rasmus Lehrndorf of PHP and David Axmark of MySQL just added to the notion that we are part of a larger ecosystem that should be working together more closely.

There are many other projects that I haven't mentioned. Suffice it to say that if you're an open source project and you've got an interest in putting content on the web, you're welcome to self-organize a gathering of interested developers here in Vancouver, and to participate in the special interest groups.

So the purpose of this summit will in fact be twofold. On the one hand, it's a chance for any interested projects to use this an umbrella event to have developer-centric meetings, planning and coding the future growth of their systems. On the other, it's a chance to meet with like-minded people working on similar problems, and hopefully to collaborate on the solutions. The three day event will be a mix of project-centric meetings in the mornings, and special interest groups in the afternoon. We're hoping to get at least three rooms, and space/time will be on a first come/first serve basis for any projects wanting to attend. Of course, there will be lots of power and wifi, so a good time for ad hoc developer collaboration in any case.

Some of the special interest groups might include:

  • Identity and Authentication: from single sign on to distributed authentication, how can we make user interoperability seamless
  • WYSIWYG: why are there so many rich text editors that are all mediocre at best? Is there a way to provide general rich text editing hooks, and then work on making a selection of robust, cross platform editors?
  • Extending to the desktop: integration with protocols such as MetaWeblog API and the Atom Publishing Protocol
  • Calendaring: it's a big issue, dates and timezones are hard; making calendars work together across sites and to the desktop
  • Templates and themes: making it really easy for designers to create standards compliant themes.
  • Distributed development strategies: from CVS to newer distributed systems like darcs or bzr, share strategies on how your project works together, and what can be done to improve this
  • Add your own special interest group: this is just a selection of themes...write a description and post to the wiki

To keep up to date or to help organize, please join the OSCMS Google group, or contact me. As well, Northern Voice's Moose Camp is in some ways going to be the culmination of this event -- I've added a page to the wiki that can be used to help organize your project and add your attendance details (you'll need to register for Northern Voice if you plan to attend that as well).

Cost? Well, we'll need to cover the costs for a venue if any. At most, we'll have something like a minimal suggested donation...but we're happy to have sponsors help out here.