Last week in Columbia, South Carolina, the developers’ conference POSSCON went through something of a reboot. Last year the conference was cancelled to allow It-oLogy, the organization behind the event, to put its energy behind launching the Great Wide Open conference in Atlanta. This year, with last year’s successful premiere of the Hotlanta event under its belt, IT-oLogy pulled-out all the stops to reestablish POSSCON.
Putting a popular conference on hold for a year could easily have proved to be a big mistake, especially since POSSCON takes place in IT-oLogy’s hometown. Not to fear, however, as the crowds returned, like the swallows to Capistrano, to Columbia’s Vista district where the conference is held.
“The event itself was fantastic,” Todd Lewis, POSSCON’s chair and It-oLogy’s executive director for the host city, told FOSS Force on Friday, just two days after the event ended. “More than 800 people from all over the Southeast and across the country registered, which was the most ever.”
So what are people saying now that this year’s event is one for the record books?
“So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive from attendees, sponsors and the media,” he said.
At this year’s POSSCON there were a total of six tracks. Included this year, “Open 101,” a track designed especially for those who want to learn about open source, with some presentations appropriate for newcomers to the FOSS world.
“Many people were introduced to open source by way of the Open 101 track,” explained Lewis. “And many, many colleges were represented by both students and professors.”
The focus on the involvement by colleges and universities isn’t surprising. At its core, IT-oLogy is an educational organization, with the three conferences it currently hosts being part of its educational outreach.
“Just a few of the schools included the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, College of Charleston, Midlands Technical College, UNC Charlotte, The Citadel, and many others,” he added.
Historically black colleges and universities were also well represented at this year’s POSSCON. This is good news, given the nationwide efforts to bring diversity to the open tech workplace, as well as to tech in general. Among those making a showing: Benedict College and Allen University in Columbia and Claflin University in nearby Orangeburg.