Thoughts on POSSCON

Yet another post in the spirit of better late than never.

This year’s Palmetto Open Source Software Conference (POSSCON) was my first time attending, and I have to admit that it was quite different than many conferences I’ve attended in the past. There was a much greater emphasis on the business community, particularly the local healthcare industry, and everything was quite polished. It’s worth checking out David Nalley’s post-event wrap up report for more about the event’s history and focus. The visit to the IT-ology facility was a major highlight. It’s always great to see students engaged in open source, and the folks in Columbia, South Carolina have built a beautiful place to do just that.

Ruth Suehle was kind enough to pen a post on opensource.com about my talk at the conference. I’ve also posted my slides on SlideShare in case they are useful to anyone. My colleague Deborah Bryant gave an excellent talk on trends for use of open source in government, but I believe she’ll be publishing her own notes soon so I leave the elaboration to her; I’ll post a comment linking to her now forthcoming blog post.

David Nalley brought up some excellent points in his talk on introducing students to open source through academia, most importantly that it’s plain tough to do it well. Academia doesn’t tend to encourage students to be “productively lost,” a key component for success in open source. Given the successes the HFOSS Project has seen, I wonder if projects undertaken outside of the classroom are the best way to bring together both worlds. Curious what other folks would have to share on this topic.

Also well worth a read, Mel Chua’s session notes from her interactive presentation asking audience members to review all sorts of FOSS material culture – IRC meeting logs, design review meeting notes, etc. – and discuss what wasn’t clear to them. No surprise, much of it wasn’t clear, no matter how experienced in software development, user experience design, etc. the audience members were. It’s so easy to not know just how much we know.

Had a great time meeting up with old friends like Amber and Mel and making new ones like the crew from Linode and opensource.com. Last but not least, it was wonderful to finally meet the folks that put on the Southeast Linux Fest (SELF) after recording podcasts with several of their friends (or with them vaguely nearby, not sure – these are hard core hams, after all). Turns out I’ll be speaking at SELF on Humanitarian FOSS, so if you’re heading to SELF, see you there!

Many thanks to the conference organizers for inviting me to speak, particularly my colleague Bryant Patten for asking me to be a part of the Education track he spearheaded. Should you find yourself near Columbia, POSSCON 2012 would be a wonderful addition to your quest for all things open source.

This entry was posted in conferences, open source, Teaching Open Source and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Thoughts on POSSCON

  1. Leslie Hawthorn says:

    Excellent write up of John maddog Hall’s session from POSSCON:

    http://opensource.com/education/11/4/diving-open-source-communities-student-need-knows

  2. Pingback: Southern Hospitality and Saving the World: SELF! | Hawthorn Landings

  3. Pingback: Southern Hospitality and Saving the World: SELF! | Outer Spaces Landing Spaces

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