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March 30th, 2015

Posscon: Five Talks to Consider

Columbia, South Carolina’s Posscon conference is still a couple of weeks away and already nearly sold out. We’re hearing from the conference organizers that anyone planning on attending who hasn’t gotten tickets yet should take care of that pronto, before it’s too late.

Posscon, primarily a developers’ conference, has a few talks on the schedule which might fly beneath the radar for the hardcore coders and developers who make up the lion’s share of those in attendance. Here’s five that catch my interest and which would be on my dance ticket if I was able to make the event:

  • Jason hibbietJason Hibbets is a pragmatic idealist — meaning he figures out how to put his idealism into practice. Back in 2013, at ATO, I had the chance to see him speak on efforts to bring the ideology behind FOSS to local governments. At this year’s Posscon, he’ll be sharing his insights on Open Source Community Building.

    This should be of particular interest to media folks, as he’ll be focusing on his experiences at Red Hat’s community website, opensource.com,, where he is lead administrator, content curator, and community manager. During his tenure, he and his team have built traffic at the site to over 600 thousand page views monthly. In his talk, he’ll touch on team building, use of social media, SEO strategies and more.

  • Greg SheremetaAnybody who’s considering starting an open source project, no matter how small, might want to consider checking out Greg Sheremeta’s presentation, Contributing to an Open Source Project 101. Sheremeta, a senior software engineer at Red Hat, will be covering the basics of the open source software development process, making this a must not only for those wanting to get involved as contributors, for for anyone wanting to administer a project as well.

    He’ll talk about how open source projects can be structured — covering ownership, maintainers, committers and the like — and touch on workflow. In addition, attendees will get an introduction to repositories such as GitHub, as well as some information on choosing the right license for the project. He’ll also walk the audience through the contribution process at a couple of open source projects.

  • Erica StanleyLast October I attended Erica Stanley’s presentation on Open Source and the Internet of Things at ATO, which she’ll be reprising at Posscon. I recommend this one for all tech geeks, even those who think they have no interest in the Internet of Things — maybe especially for those who think they have no interest in the subject.

    Like it or not, the Internet of Things is happening in a big way, and it’s only going to continue to grow in importance. Stanley, a co-founder of the Atlanta chapter of Women Who Code, offers up a great overview of the subject, without talking over anyone’s head and without dumbing it down too much. You’ll walk away from this one with a really good understanding of the basics, I promise.

  • Jeff PrestesAfter getting an overview of the Internet of Things from Stanley, you might want to take in Building Your Make Money Machine: Learning How to Build an Internet of Things Powered Candy Machine which will be led by Jeff Prestes.

    This one looks really cool. Prestes promises to lead the audience through the steps to build a candy dispensing machine using open source software and a Raspberry Pi. Not only that, a PHP ecommerce web application will be built “to sell, and then use this data to remotely control the machine to release the candies.” This should be both fun and informative.

  • Tarus BalogDid you ever notice that when you go to a LinuxFest that many of the geeks are carrying around Mac laptops? Tarus Balog has noticed, mainly because he’s a long time self professed Apple fanboy himself, who’s taken the steps to free himself of the limitations inherent in using proprietary operating systems and make the move to something a little more open.

    Balog, who’s the principal administrator at OpenNMS, will be talking about his efforts in a presentation called Guide to the Open Source Desktop. Was he successful in freeing himself from his addiction to OS X? He isn’t talking. You’ll have to take the workshop to find out.

Posscon will be held on April 14th and 15th at various venues in the Vista, Columbia’s downtown arts and entertainment district.

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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