Be There or be Square

October 15, 2010

If you were not at the SCL Tenth Annual Conference, the Software Symposium, on 15th and 16th October 2010 you missed some great sessions. A really good audience turn out created a real buzz at the Bath Spa hotel, and lots of contributions from delegates. It was an international affair. Delegates had travelled from Holland, Scandinavia and from as far away as New Zealand.

We had a history lesson on the first morning on the development of software – did you know that IBM originally made its source code available to those who paid a full rental for its sofware? We then wrestled with the obvious benefits and contractual methodology for utilising Agile software development, learning about “Poker Cards” and “Poodle Points.” That was followed by cloud computing including concepts such as “Hybrid Clouds” and the UK government’s developing “G cloud” thinking. In an open source session we explored the development risks and due diligence challenges associated with GPL licences, and debated whether a breach of a “free” licence could ever result in damages.

In the evening we had time to visit Bath or to sample the hotel spa with its four saunas and outside (mercifully hot) plunge pool. The after dinner speech brought all the ideas from the sessions together quite nicely I thought – and even featured a monkey being pulled out of a hat box! I can say no more. You had to be there!

On day two we looked at how software is used in legal practices – are lawyers “Gurus on a pin cushion in a tunnel”? We also learnt about the “Hype Cycle” and went from the “Trough of Disillusionment” to the “Plateau of Productivity.” In the outsourcing session the discussion was around “Bow waves of investment”, “Catalysts for change”, “Retained Organisation” and, my personal favourite, “Golf Club Deals”.

Not to be outdone the software litigation session contained “Deep thoughts on technology contracts and when they go wrong”, “Change control in the pub” ( a new one on me but it sounds good fun) and all about the “Altercation in the car park” in the “Lulu case” (BSKyB). And, more seriously, how adjudication may be a very effective method of dispute resolution with its “temporary” binding quality.

Maybe the overall theme of the conference was “What goes around comes around” from open source to software as a service.

All in all a great couple of days. My personal thanks to all who attended and to Ruth, Caroline, Priti and Clare who made it all run so smoothly.

Clive Davies