The open source mobile app space is getting increasingly crowded. The recent opportunities for developers to produce and distribute mobile apps through a range of app stores is taking the developer world by storm. If, as the saying goes, all people dream of writing a poem at least once in a lifetime, then perhaps there aren’t many developers out there either who haven’t dreamed of building a great mobile app themselves.
I don’t have any stats on the percent of open source developers producing apps for app stores. However, a number of concerns reported in the past by open source developers contributing to the Mac App Store suggest that alternative solutions, such as the rising Android Market, may stand better chances to attract contributors used to work in an open development fashion.
The popularity of the mobile apps in the developer world is reflected by the significant number of events organized on related topics. A quick search on Eventbrite listed 283 mobile-related UK events within the next few months. As expected, most of these events target business audiences. Some of them, such as OSIM, specifically explore solutions for developing and distributing mobile open source software.
As the education sector tries to keep pace with the recent developments in the mobile world, a number of academic projects have looked at how mobile solutions may help educational institutions fulfil their teaching and research remits. Most of these projects address issues specific to their teams’ teaching or research interests. As mandated by JISC’s software collaboration policy, more than one institutions took part in these projects and the software produced was released under an open source licence. However, as far as I am aware, no long term mobile partnerships between the academic and industry sectors emerged as a result of these initiatives so far.
This is precisely the type of event missing from the crowded mobile software space. There are virtually no events bringing together business and academic developers working on open source mobile apps aimed at building sustainable partnerships using lessons learned from open source development.
OSS Watch has identified this opportunity, and in collaboration with 100% Open has put together a series of two-day workshops in order to fill this gap. Open Source Junction aims to connect industry and academic innovation emerging in open source mobile technologies. The first event in the series focuses on open source cross-platform mobile apps, and will take place on 29-30 March in Oxford. More information about the programme, speakers and sessions is available on the registration page.
If business and academic teams working together on open source mobile apps is something that appeals to you, whether you are a developer, a researcher, a project manager, a mobile open source strategist, or a funder interested in industry-academic partnerships, then you can’t miss this workshop. There are no other UK events where open source and mobile apps join forces and academic and business developers rub shoulders together in one of the most atmospheric historical venues in Oxford.
I hope to see some of you there.