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May 18th, 2016

OSCON for the Rest of Us Starts Today

With the two day training classes and tutorials out of the way, OSCON gets cranked up today for the rest of us — in its new Austin, Texas home.

Things get cranked-up for real in Austin, Texas today at OSCON. Although the conference started on Monday, the first two days were reserved for special two day training classes and tutorials. Today the big gate opens wide on the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey of open source conferences. For the first time ever, the event is taking place deep in the heart of Texas, as OSCON has said goodbye to Portland, Oregon, at least temporarily, to say hello to the land of Tex-Mex vittles.

OSCON logoIn case you’re new around here, OSCON is the biggest of the big tent open source conferences, and is presented each year by publisher O’Reilly. Although the conference’s focus is primarily on open source and the enterprise — you know, lots of stuff on big data, Hadoop and the like — in recent years the organizers have tried to include at least a smidgen of the stuff we’ve come to expect from more community oriented FOSS conferences — with smidgen being the key word.

Understandable, since most of the great unwashed everyday Linux users — to borrow from Gary Newell — can’t afford the cost of admission, or wouldn’t pay it if able. It’s expensive. A Gold Pass, which opens the door to everything but the two day training sessions, runs a whopping $2,995. But hold on to your wallet. You can get an Expo Hall Plus Pass, which gets you into the expo hall and all sponsored presentations for today and Thursday for only $49. It’s sort of like the Titanic. You know, you can go super first class or you can go steerage.

The Expo pass gets you a lot, however. I count 32 sponsored presentations that will be available for those of us with the cheap tickets (I’m not there, but I’d be with the cheap crowd if I were). That should offer more than enough credits for at least some kind of associate’s degree or something, don’t you think?

By the way, if you want to see a complete list of everybody who’s presenting at this year’s OSCON — first class and steerage — my friend Rikki Endsley over at Opensource.com published a complete list on Monday.

For those of us stuck in our homes listening to Pink Floyd’s “Wish We Were There,” all isn’t lost, as we can be there kinda sorta by proxy. As usual, OSCON is live streaming the keynotes starting at 8:45 a.m. CDT today and at 8:50 a.m. on Thursday.

Thursday at 8:55 a.m. — that’s 9:55 on the east coast or 6:55 for those who didn’t get the memo and are stuck in Portland — you might want to catch Cory Doctorow who’ll be giving a talk he’s calling “Open, Closed and Demon Haunted: An Internet of Things that Act Like Inkjet Printers.” Damn if it doesn’t sound like Doctorow is grappling with the same HP Deskjet 1000 we use here at the FOSS Force office. You’d think he could afford better.

There are also some free webcasts coming up that are kinda connected with the conference: one today and four more on May 24-25. Learn all you want about Hadoop, Spark, big data and Slack bots. Fun stuff.

Me? I’ll be sitting here at the computer at the FOSS Force office letting this year’s OSCON pass me by. Maybe on Saturday night I’ll watch Austin City Limits on PBS, just to get a feel for the atmosphere I missed. Scheduled is a rerun of the Foo Fighters. That should be enjoyable.

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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