Thursday, 20 November 2008

BiliÅŸim '08: MySQL and FOSS advocacy in Ankara, Turkey

Imagine eating meze in Ankara with a Turkish Member of the Parliament, and member of the Turkish EU Harmonisation Committee. That's not the basic reason I joined MySQL AB back in 2001, but it's one of the most interesting outcomes of my decision. Bottom line: The honourable Mr Osman CoÅŸkunoÄŸlu was a fascinating person to talk to, with good insights as to how to save money for the Turkish public economy through using Open Source. Not surprisingly, he is well connected, having met Aslam Raffee and colleagues from many other governments worldwide, in South Africa just weeks before I had the pleasure of meeting with Aslam.

I'm in Turkey advocating MySQL for BiliÅŸim '08, or Informatics '08, a conference drawing hundreds of Turkish IT experts to Ankara. I've spent a lot of time with Marino Marcich, head of the ODF Alliance, who is here talking for the Open Document Format.

In addition to the not-planned-for-but-positive experience of getting acquainted with Turkish MPs, I had another unlikely event happen to me: My Turkish speech was simultaneously translated into English. Marino could confirm that the translation was intelligible. As I hadn't handed out my notes beforehand, I thus retain my hope that the Turkish "original" also was understood

As those who have noted my Italian, Russian, Spanish and Baltic blogs might guess, I have now started a blog in Turkish (at the address where Alman deÄŸilim means "I am not German"). It's properly aggregated (thanks Google Reader!) to my home page at and currently filled with four entries:

Sadly, I'm impaired in writing more entries here, as Turkish isn't supported by Google Translate. Google, if you're reading: Turkish and Estonian are my top two wishes!

And for Turkey, I have another personal wish: Ban smoking in public places. Since nearly a year, Germany smells good, and I wasn't bothered by smokers even in Argentina, Chile or Uruguay. But the Sheraton lobby at BiliÅŸim, and the Turkish restaurants! Sure, I try to have the highest respect for local customs wherever I go, but if I'm surrounded by tobacco smoke, I have a hard time concentrating on the discussion at hand, or on enjoying good food. Nonetheless, thank you to my local Sun host Ilteris Sule for not smoking, and for also encoraging others not to do so in my immediate vicinity.

Let me conclude by the English version of my Turkish introduction today:

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon and thank you for the opportunity to come here and share my thinking about Open Source with you. I will present in English, but I have a number of key points I would like to present in Turkish.

However, I don't want to be rude, so let me start by presenting myself. My name is Kaj Arnö, and I am vice president of Community Relations at MySQL. I live in Munich, Germany, and I do drink beer. But I am not German. I am from Finland, as MySQL's founder, CEO and many other colleagues at MySQL. In the integration of MySQL into Sun, I also play the role of being MySQL's Ambassador to Sun, which means that I run from one Sun office to the next and explain what MySQL is all about.

My key points are all related to Open Source and Open Standards, especially in government. I have six points.

My first point: Open Source has changed the software market, for the better. Less vendor lock-in. More open competition. Let the best software win, with the best licensing conditions!

My second point: Open Source is in the economic interest of most if not all countries. Especially, Open Source makes it possible for a lot of the value created to remain within the borders of the country where it was created.

My third point: Open Source software can do much more than you think.

My fourth point: Innovation happens in Open Source. It caters to real needs of the user base, because the innovators are users themselves.

My fifth point: Lots of the Open Source comes from Sun. In fact, Sun provides the most volume of Open Source code of all companies. Open Office comes from Sun's office in Hamburg. Java is GPL and fully Open Source. Open Solaris is a full-fledged Open Source operating system.
GlassFish is a great application server. NetBeans is a superb integrated development environment, not just for Java, but for C, C++, PHP, and so on. And all of them come from Sun. Ah, and did I mention, MySQL has been acquired by Sun in February this year?

My sixth and final point: All of this is available to you, here and now, in Turkey.

As I'm sure you've noticed by now, I clearly don't speak Turkish (and I have difficulties understanding what I'm saying). Thus, I will continue in English for the rest of my presentation. Sorry about that, and thank you for your attention, so far!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent!

    Pity about point 5, it's one of those "self validation" statements.
    Noone from Sun should be pointing out that Sun is so active and that lots of OSS comes from Sun. Blahblah. That's so uncool.
    It should be others - that's cool.