skip page navigation Oregon State University


OSCON 2009

OSCON 2009

Being located so close to Portland, of course we at the OSU Open Source Lab were sad to see OSCON move down to the Bay Area this year. However, it remains a great convention not only for the abundance of wonderful sessions, but for bringing together so many open source contributors from all around the world. So, even though it means a bit of traveling for us this year, we'll be at OSCON next week -- not with are usual booth in the expo hall, but we will be participating in a number of sessions.

On Wednesday at 2:35, Lance Albertson will be giving a talk entitled Server Management and Source Control: The key to scalability and teamwork. Lance leads our systems team which hosts some of the most well-known open source projects and communities in the world. Lance's talk will give you a chance to see how we handle automation for our servers using cfengine and git to allow for all systems team members to easily collaborate and push changes to servers.

At 4:30 on Wednesday, Deborah Bryant will lead a panel entitled Bureaucrats, Technocrats and Policy Cats: How the Government is turning to Open Source, and Why. Other participants include Bjorn Freeman-Benson (DemocracyLab), Greg Lund-Chaix (OSUOSL), Clay Johnson (Sunlight Labs), and Aleksandar Totic (Open Source Digital Voting Foundation). This will be a great discussion on government moving to open source and transparency.

Thursday afternoon at 1:45 will be the much-anticipated State of Lightning Talks 2009 lead by Josh Berkus. Always informative and entertaining, the State of Lightning Talks give a handful of projects five minutes a piece to update everyone on what's currently going on in their project & communities. Jeff Sheltren will be there to give everyone the run-down on what's new at the Open Source Lab this year.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Catch us at Open Source Bridge

Catch us at Open Source Bridge

Open Source Bridge starts today and runs through Friday at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. Most of our full-time staff will be participating in the conference, so please stop us in the hallway and say hi!

Deborah Bryant will be speaking on Open Source in Government.

Lance Albertson will be speaking with ex-OSL'er, Narayan Newton (now at Tag1 Consulting) on using "layers of caching" to scale websites

Peter Krenesky will be leading our open in government" hackathon session at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower.

Greg Lund-Chaix and Jeff Sheltren will be around to enjoy the conference and talk to people about what's going on at the Open Source Lab.

Hackathon at Open Source Bridge

Hackathon at Open Source Bridge

The Open Source Lab is organizing a Hackathon (code sprint) at the Open Source Bridge conference, June 17-19th at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. We’re bringing people together to help out Sunlight Lab’s Fifty States Project. If you’re interested in helping promote government openness and transparency, this is your chance.


Part of the non-partisan Sunlight Foundation, Sunlight Labs is an open source development team that builds technology to make government more transparent and accountable. They have been building the Fifty States Project with the help of volunteers around the country. The project aims to provide parsers and an API for legislative data from each of the fifty state governments in the U.S. This is a local version of their already successful which provides the same data from the federal government.


The hackathon will take place at the Open Source Bridge conference. Open Source Bridge is a new conference for developers working with open source technologies and for people interested in learning the open source way. It is an entirely volunteer organized conference. Open Source Bridge is providing a Hacker Lounge, providing a great environment to hack in 24 hours a day during the conference.

The hacker lounge is located at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower, 921 SW Sixth Avenue, Portland, Oregon


The hacker lounge opens at 9am on June 17th and is open round the clock until 12am, June 19th.

  • Project Intro: Anytime between 3pm - 8pm June 17th
  • Coding: any time till the end of the conference


We’re looking for any programmers of any level, interested in promoting openness and transparency in government. No prior experience with the project is needed, but feel free to check out the project wiki. Fifty States is written in python but other languages are welcome as well.


If you’re interested in attending RSVP at Upcoming

Hardware Donation Expands OSUOSL Infrastructure

Hardware Donation Expands OSUOSL Infrastructure

HP dl580sThe Oregon State University Open Source Lab recently received a large gift in-kind donation from a local Portland company which included approximately 20 servers, two NetApp filers with approximately 14TB of disk space, load balancers, and more. This is a very generous donation which will help the OSL replace aging hardware and expand our current infrastructure to support even more services and open source projects.

One of the donated servers (pictured here), an HP dl580 with 20GB of RAM and dual dual-core Xeon processors has already been put to use as a community database server. The OSL is currently running five such servers which run MySQL and PostgreSQL databases for our hosted partners. Our database servers power such community sites as phpBB, Mozillazine, Linux Plumbers Conference, OpenOffice Extensions, BusyBox, Gentoo Forums, Kerneltrap, OLPC Support Forums, and many more!

We're excited and very gracious for the hardware donation, and we already have many plans for the new hardware! Can you help the OSL by making a monetary or in-kind contribution? See for more information.

Flourish! Open Source Conference

Flourish! Open Source Conference

Jeff SheltrenLast month, Oregon State University Open Source Lab Operations Manager, Jeff Sheltren, headed to Chicago for Flourish! Open Source Conference, put on by the University of Illinois, Chicago. There was a great crowd at Flourish with a number of excellent speakers and demonstration/learning sessions going on throughout the two day conference.

Jeff spoke about the OSUOSL including the history, current projects, and some of the cool open source projects hosted at the lab. There was a lot of interest in the audience about forming open source groups at other universities and potential collaboration with the OSUOSL. At right, you can see Jeff speaking with members of the audience after his talk. Photo from used with permission.

Flourish plans to make video of Jeff's talk (and all of the other speakers!) available on their website in the near future. In the meantime, you can find Jeff's presentation on the OSUOSL here (odp format; pdf format). The presentation is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license: