Open Tuesday in Beijing
Tuesday past marked the beginning of Open Tuesday in Beijing. The inaugural Beijing event begins a number of co-operative efforts around open source investment and research between Finland and China. Open Tuesday itself was established in Finland to create and co-ordinate networking events around open source developers and business people.
The event was split roughly into two parts. The first was very formal with short speeches from the Director of Tekes (Finland's government research funding organization), and representatives from China's Ministry of Science and Technology, and Ministry of Information Industry.
These short presentations were critically important. As government officials, they all made very clear public statements supporting free and open source software usage in Finland and China going forward, in a room full of people, with press coverage. A lot of face will be lost if they change direction at this point.
Mikko Puhakka, one of the founders of Open Tuesday (and an early investor in MySQL AB), and Petri Rasanen, head of Finland's Center for Open Source Software, gave talks, along with a Red Flag vice-president, and I finished the speakers ticket with a short talk on why open source software is important for China's economic growth.
The officials and honoured guests all left to do official and honourable things together, and the buffet was opened to the rest of us. This second informal half of the evening was great! Unlike some events where you see one cultural group lined up on one side of the room and the other group lined up across the room, (not unlike boys and girls at a dance), here everyone was talking with everyone and a lot of new relationships were started.
There were about 80 people attending and it was a great start to what will hopefully become a regular event. The Beijing event was supported by the Embassy of Finland Trade and Technology Center, China Co-Create Software League, the OSDL, and Turbolinux. The Finnish Open Tuesday partners include Tekes (the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation), COSS (Centre for Open Source Software, Finland), Finpro (Finnish National Agency for Corporate Internationalization), Helsinki University of Technology, Finland UNIX User Group, and Tampere University.