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July 24th, 2015

OSCON: Goodbye, Portland

On the last morning of the last day of the last OSCON in Portland, things seem remarkably upbeat. Though resigned to the fact that they’re losing the home-field advantage for having the largest FOSS expo in North America, many Portlanders still feel that OSCON will be back someday. Officially, O’Reilly is focused laser-like on the Austin event in May 2016 — among the increasing number of O’Reilly events here in North America and elsewhere — so 2017 is not even on the radar yet.

Keila Banks at OSCON 2015

Keila Banks, right, gets prepped by a stage hand before her talk prior to the opening sessions in the Portland Ballroom at OSCON on Friday morning (photo by Phillip Banks)

Be that as it may, the final day started with many an attendee with coffee in hand, filing into the Portland Ballroom for the morning welcome and keynotes. Matthew McCollough of GitHub, Sarah Novotny of NGNIX, and Rachel Roumeliotis of O’Reilly kicked off the opening welcome to a standing room only crowd — problematic since the ushers wouldn’t let anyone stand, so I ended up sitting in someone’s lap (just kidding).

Raffi Krikorian followed with a talk on “Hacking Conway’s Law.” George Dyson spoke about “From analog to digital and back,” and 13-year-old Keila Banks wrapped up the morning keynotes with her talk “Undefinable Me,” focusing on the labels we end up with and how they transcend actually who we are.

Keila is no stranger to the stage. Growing up essentially at the Southern California Linux Expo where her father, Phillip Banks, is part of the organizational staff, Keila was unfazed by a huge crowd — “I couldn’t really see them,” she said — and welcomed the opportunity to talk about her experiences. It was not her first talk — she has spoken at SCALE 13x and PyCon in the past — and she’s looking forward to speaking at more venues.

Two sets of sessions follow in the morning, which leads to the wrap-up at noon of the Open Source Awards and closing remarks, which will be reported on later today.

Quick Takes from OSCON: O’Reilly released the number of attendees for the week-long conference this morning, and the total this year rose to a record of over 4,700 folks. Congratulations, O’Reilly and OSCON for giving us a great show and a great venue… One of the best things about writing articles from a show like OSCON is getting to rub shoulders with some of my FOSS journalism colleagues, like the always jovial-yet-insightful Markus Feilner, who writes for various European publications while serving as the lead documentarian for SUSE in Germany; talking FOSS and baseball (mostly baseball) with Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols, the dean of FOSS journalists; and trading rumors and story ideas with Rikki Endsley of Opensource.com… To O’Reilly’s credit — and consider this a gauntlet thrown at their feet for Austin — the “what to do in Portland” was always an informative part of their blog roll. To see if they can match the depth with “what to do in Austin” next year can easily be considered a herculean feat. Challenge accepted?

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Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

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