I was invited to contribute some technological views at the Italian National Research Center, during the Internet Governance Forum.
My contribution was ahigh level introduction to Gearman, which sparked a debate about the impact of the cloud on the future of open source. Indeed, cloud computing technologies have the potential of harming open source adoption. If this is a threat and how much it can affect the future of open source depends on the business model behind the cloud.
More interesting topics were discussed both during the scheduled sessions and in open gathering. During dinner, for example, I got some disturbing statistics on database teaching in Italian universities. It's very common to require MS Access and .NET as supporting technologies for most of the IT related exams, with little or no room for open alternatives like MySQL and PostgreSQL.
Seeing a newsstand inside the compound of the NRC makes me think that progress slow in the institution that is supposed to be the guide of the Italian technology. The same thought crossed my mind seeing that the conference hall, a beautiful 200 seat hall well equipped for multimedia has only one power socket, but it was off limits for users.