The 5th annual eZ Conference, the biggest content management conference in Europe, begins with the International Partner Day, which this year brought 130 eZ Partners from as far away as Mozambique and Japan to Skien, Norway. This eZ Conference report begins with a summary of events from International Partner Day.eZ’s open source technology and business model enables clients to use eZ products without cost or obligation. eZ partners work with eZ Systems to implement full service solutions that combine the expertise of partners (such as systems integration, design or implementation within specific verticals) with eZ’s expertise in CMS development and deployment. Partner Day gives eZ Partners the chance to collaborate with each other and to provide in-person feedback to eZ that drives eZ’s development and business activities. As Francis Nart of Heliopsis states, “The partners are not direct competitors, making it easy to share information with each other about innovations and common problems.” This year International Partner Day included discussions about future eZ product releases, such as the eZ Publish 4 release to support PHP 5. It also included presentations by technology partners Rackspace, Bewoopi, and Continuent and a review of eZ’s Open Source business model. eZ used International Partner Day as an opportunity to launch its Open Funding initiative. Open Funding provides a platform for community members and partners to post specifications for eZ Publish projects that need to raise capital. Subsequently, other partners, companies and eZ Systems can jointly contribute to the project. This initiative benefits the eZ community by pooling resources and sharing the results. eZ also announced details about a partnership between IBM, WebDeal, and eZ to provide eZ Publish Now hosting on IBM infrastructure, using WebDeal hosting. This combines a CMS system, architecture and operation into a fully-featured package. Tomorrow is the first day of eZ Conference 2007, including the eZ Awards 2007 where over 800 attendees will recognize key contributors within the eZ ecosystem and the Open Source community.