Amsterdam OpenIC Symposium

Photo by MorBCN


I spent part of last week in Amsterdam at the invitation of University of Amsterdam for the OpenIC Symposium (program in Dutch, running on Sakai). I learned a lot about what’s happening at UvA (great things!),  visited Edia, a consulting company that provides Sakai services, and the Vrije Universiteit. I even gave a lecture on Open Source governance to a class of Masters students who are learning about OS technology (also at UvA). This post is about the symposium itself. Later this week I’ll blog about the other things I learned….OpenIC Symposium



The symposium brought together academic leaders from the UvA community to learn about open source and open standards. It was nicely structured to provide an increasingly local perspective. I provided the “global” view by providing an overview of the Sakai Community. Most of the folks in attendance have been using Sakai, which underlies the “UvA Communities” at the university. But very few knew much about Sakai so I gave a basic overview of the project and community and talked a bit about Sakai 3.

The next presentation was from Mike Kortekaas, a representative from a Dutch government agency that is tasked with advancing the understanding of open source and open standards within the Dutch government itself. It was interesting to get this national perspective and they are definitely doing great work to increase education about and support for open source and standards.  You can learn about everything they are doing on their website, but one of the interesting things is that agencies are required to report on their usage of open source and open standards. This results in a ranking of various government agencies. While they haven’t gone so far as to require the use of OSS, this system helps encourage the consideration of open source solutions alongside the commercial/proprietary offerings.

The last presentation was from Frank Benneker and Leon Raijmann of UvA who provided the local campus perspective. As I mentioned, Sakai underlies the UvA Communities service at the university. This grew up quietly on campus and has grown so popular that it will become an officially supported service at UvA starting in January. It’s very cool and you should check it out.

Sakai Book Presentation

Sakai Book Presentation

Finally, we had an opportunity to present the Sakai Book to Paul Doop, a Vice President at UvA. This was only appropriate because Alan Berg authored the book (I’m a co-author) and it was a good chance for me to give some recognition to Alan. He was the driving force behind the book project and wrote most of the words. It was nice for his colleagues at the University (and his wife!) to see that he has played such a prominent role on the global “stage”.

And the local, actual stage was magnificent. The symposium was held at the Agnietenkapel, the 14th-century chapel that later served as the first building of the University of Amsterdam. I’ve never given a presentation in a more beautiful room (although the lecture hall in Stockholm was pretty nice as well).

I want to thank everyone at UvA for the invitation and the hospitality while I was there. They are doing some great things and, with the efforts of Frank, Alan, Leon and others, I’m certainly more than hopeful that Sakai will become increasingly useful to them over the next few years.


2 Responses

  1. Sounds like a productive trip…also great to hear about the many exciting Sakai-related activities outside the US. I was particularly interested in the ranking of government agencies with regards to their use of OSS. There are some pockets of “open government” initiatives in the US so it would be nice to see such a ranking here.


  2. […] Posts Amsterdam OpenIC SymposiumUniversity of New England (that's Australia)Sakai 3: A proposalSakai Pilot at UNCSakai Board […]

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