otsukare Thoughts after a day of work

Make Web Not War 2011, Vancouver

Make Web Not War is a one day annual conference organized by Microsoft Canada. This year, the third edition of the conference was in Vancouver (West Canada). If you have no idea what the city looks like, take a ride with Google Street View. I was invited by Frédéric Harper (Microsoft Developer Evangelist in Montreal) to give the conference Keynote (Disclaimer: My trip and hotel was paid by Microsoft and I had a mobile phone as a gift for giving the keynote). This is the type of setup I like. A conference sponsored by Microsoft and someone from Opera giving the keynote to talk about the Web show how everyone is working one same goal : an interoperable Web.

City of Vancouver

Organization and Wifi

The Conference was very well organized. 300 persons were attending the conference in Masik Studios venue. Julia Stowell (Microsoft, Toronto) took care of all details the logistics details.

The only bad score during the conference was the wifi, which was difficult to access. With a crappy wifi, the online participation, the voice on the outside becomes severely butchered. The good thing about it, people might listen more what is happening on the talk. I guess there was too many people trying to get an IP address. Think about it, the pool of IP addresses you need in the DHCP and the bandwidth is not the number of people attending the conference. These days people have more than one device with them. There is the laptop, but also the mobile phone, possibly a tablet, and you can imagine in the future cameras and other things, Basically the number of devices often outnumber the number of people. Devices are the real digital citizens of a conference that you have to take care of. It’s why I like the SudWeb take on it (I’m speaking there in a couple of weeks). There will be no wifi during the conference. I’m curious about the social dynamic it will create.


I decided to give the Keynote on the Web architecture constraints and how that was empowering the creation of people. The title The Web is the Massage (HTTP for Poets) (with my apologies to Marshall McLuhan). The attendance being a mix of people with technical and marketing background, my goal was to give which was even simpler than HTTP pour les brutes et les naïfs (slides). at Paris Web 2009. I will write a separate blog post about the Keynote content. A bit afraid that the topic will not be understood, I was happy to see tweets such as :

@markreale: bloody hell - the @karlpro talk was so good all I wanna do is go back to work now #webnotwar

— Mark Reale

This was the goal of my keynote. People leaving the room with a desire to create, experiment, and push further what they can do “with the Web” instead of “on the Web”.

Make Web Not War 2011 -


In between the discussion with people, I attended a few talks:

Microsoft and Open Source Panel

The conference had a panel of people discussing about their involvement around Open source and the perception of Microsoft attitude in this world. It is interesting to see a company spending a lot of time and efforts into changing the perception of the community. They pour a lot of money on Web sites, conferences such as this one. I shared a similar feeling than some people in the audience. “Stop throwing money, Participate.” Indeed, there is a struggling from Microsoft to change the company culture or to give the feeling that the company culture is changing. Marketing or real? The only way to change that is really to be involved in opensource projects, not only for fixing things which are related to windows and then harm their own platform, but also to really develop opensource projects. I have two examples which come to my mind. IBM which is a huge company with a gigantic Patent portfolio but still get involves in opensource project such as Apache and CouchDB offering a home or resources for working on these projects. And Opera working on things such as OperaWatir, Dragonfly. Changing a company culture doesn’t happen by only sending the message to the outside world but also by changing the company inside. And this might be the biggest challenge for Microsoft. I can imagine Titan battles between people used to an old culture and moving toward a new one. It takes a lot of time to change the direction of big ship and you can’t do it violently. That will be interesting to see on a longterm.

Thanks to everyone who shared ideas, who talked. I had a wonderful time with you in Vancouver.