This is the third ETech, but actually the fifth in a series of conferences originally branded as the OReilly Peer-to-Peer Conference in February of 2001. That first conference was a technology Monterey Pop, with Napsters Sean Fanning, Sun Microsystems Bill Joy, Gnutellas Gene Kan, and Grooves Ray Ozzie sharing files, protocols and business plans. The follow-up conference in November was rebranded P2P and Web Services, and then morphed into the first ETech in May, 2002.
Today Kan is dead, Joy is retired, Napster is a brand name, and Ozzies biggest client is the Department of Defense. But the peer-to-peer wave continues to roil the media, the entertainment industry, and now, politics. Meet-ups, blogs, wikis, the merging of Instant Messaging and videoconferencing—you can call it what you like, and most will call it "social software."
Social networks may be the latest bling-bling in the disposable e-conomy, but social software deserves (and gets) its own track at ETech. Some sessions, such as Robert Kayes Next Generation File Sharing With Social Software, have a blatant pitch: "The primary goal of the social software aspect is to keep the RIAA and MPAA out of your social network in order to avoid detection."
Others sound more esoteric, like Matt Webbs Glancing: Im OK, Youre OK, which "sets a course from the grunts of non-verbal communication to the basic metaphors of how we build and relate to cyberspace." And therell be glimpses of major vendor strategies in the emerging real-time architecture wars. Microsoft Researchs Lili Cheng will show prototypes developed in the Social Computing Group, including Wallop and the Personal Map.