Report from the Hephaistos Conference

As you know from previous posts, I’ve attended much of the recently held Hephaistos Conference, and presented there our experience on developping PicoForge and using Shibboleth.

I was glad to see many interesting presentations and talking to all these people interested in Forges, either promoters of the use of forges for specific communities, or developers/maintainers of forge software.

I’d like to report on some of the bits I remember, hoping that others will provide their reports too.

First of all, I think that the organisers have organised a great conference, for a first edition, and the only criticism may be that I would have prefered to be able to talk to more people from Mandriva there, as the conf was held at Mandriva’s building. Too bad… maybe next time.

Several people were present from Public Administrations or institutions related to this sector, who try and promote the use of the libre software model for developments in the public administrations sector : folks from the Adullact’s forge, and Admisource (the official french administration’s one), or the forge of the Junta in Extremadura, and also someone from Sweden, and even a representative of the IDABC program.

Being able to discuss questions of interoperability was the main topic of interest for me. Some elements have been shown like the search facility between partner forges implemented in GForge, and used by the GForges relating to PA projects, for instance (Hephaestos project at Adullact). Recent activity was made around this topic like discussions in the frame of the Overcrowded initiative, and older bits like our proposals for CoopX.

I think we have discussed interesting ideas like using Web 2.0 techniques also in the forges, things like tagging / taxonomy for projects identification / categorisation, maybe.

Some presentations have provided us with interesting perspective on software development and integration basing on J2EE components, and in particular on ObjectWeb’s technology, like what the IRCAD did with xwiki and other tools. Also, using similar technologies were the elements proposed by the LibreSource project. I think they have developped a very interesting tool, which could be a solid basis for building forges of next generation, but whose paths for adoption by projects in the libre software communities remain to be confirmed.

There would be lots of other elements to note, but I must say I don’t remember that much at the present time, and let others contribute in the comments 😉

Last, we mentioned that we (at GET/INT) are hosting a mailing-list which was setup in the frame of the “overcrowded” project, which is meant for improving contacts between people involved in the field of forges, like maintainers of several forge applications. At the moment there are mostly french-speaking people, but we’re inviting all interested parties to join us… and maybe we can continue with discussions in english. You may contact me for more details.

Update 2006/12/09 : the proceedings are on-line : http://www.ethiqa.com/hephaistos/proceedings2006.html

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