The Open Invention Network (OIN) hosted a panel discussion in Beijing last Wednesday, Oct. 11. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be part of it, but I was unfortunate enough to miss my return flight to Beijing.
The CEO for OIN, Jerry Rosenthal, made his first official visit to Beijing and hosted a pretty grand event at one of Beijing's top hotels, China World. This trip really constituted more of a fact-finding and educational foray into China.
The emergence of organizations such as OIN and Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), which is quite active in China and has been for almost two years, is positive for the open source movement. It legitimizes the grass-roots efforts of Linux champions such as Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman. Many corporations such as IBM, Novell and Red Hat are throwing their hats in the ring and taking the movement to multiple fronts. They are not only innovators, but they themselves are consolidating Linux's defense and taking offensive measures to ensure open source technology cannot be turned against the community that developed it.
OIN and OSDL's presence in China is important not just because of China's blossoming software research and development centers (i.e. Google and Microsoft), but also because emerging markets such as China give open source a chance to get into businesses and government offices before Microsoft can become entrenched in the minds of the hordes of employees. OSDL and OIN are good examples of organizations that will be successful in getting face time with Chinese officials in furthering the open source cause.