Press "Enter" to skip to content

Free & Online: Open Source 101 Coming March 29 With Great Speakers and “Wow!” Prizes

On March 29th you can broaden your open source horizons, sharpen some skills, and maybe even get a free System76 laptop or a Lenovo Chromebook if you’re lucky enough to win a prize.

Open Source 101 spacemen
SOURCE: Open Source 101

We’ve heard from the folks at Open Source 101, who told us the date for the single-day conference has been set, some of the speakers have already been named, and that this year’s event has been cleared for blast off on Tuesday, March 29.

The bad news for folks who like their conferences up close and personal is that even though the folks behind the conference were able to present the three-day All Things Open event in October before a live and in-person audience, the current situation with the omicron variant of Covid-19 means Open Source 101 will be an online only event.

The good news, for folks like me who like to look for a cloud’s silver lining, is the same as the bad news might be for others, however.

“Online” means I’m not going to have to hassle with the nightmare that air travel has become, and will be able to watch the entire event unfold from the comfort of my home. And since online includes the large screen internet connected television in the living room, I plan to turn off the phone, grab the remote, plop down on the couch with a supersized bag of popcorn and some cheese sticks, and enjoy the show.

There’s more good news, and it includes everybody: the entire event is free. Better than free, actually, since there will be prizes that far surpass your typical conference swag (which will also be available in abundance) — but more on that in a moment.

What is Open Source 101?

In case you’re not in the know, let me enlighten you: Open Source 101 is a single day event that the folks at All Things Open have put on every spring since 2017. Unlike its much larger parent event, where much of the content is for people with a lot of experience working with open source in the IT world, Open Source 101 caters to folks who are just getting their feet wet — with mostly introductory (and a few intermediate level) talks on topics that are the foundational core to open source.

Open Source 101
A System76 Pangolin desktop preinstalled with the Pop!_OS Linux distributions is one of several prizes that will be given away at this years Open Source 101.

In other words, it’s intended as an educational and networking on-ramp for anyone with a desire to learn more about open source and computer tech, designed for students, early-career technologists, and established technologists working in or coming over from proprietary environments. This might also include experienced IT professionals well-versed in open source who might need a bit of a refresher, or who want to expand into previously unexplored technologies.

Look Who’s Talking

As I said, the speaker lineup isn’t yet ready for release, but a few names were made known yesterday when 16 speakers were announced.

Back from last year’s conference is Peter Zaitsev, the co-counder and CEO of the database management company Percona. Although the event hasn’t yet publicly linked speaker-to-presentation (but has published a list of session titles), last year Zaitsev’s presentation was on The Changing Landscape of Open Source Databases, which is available online. As they used to say on Laugh-In (I know, I’m ageing myself) you can bet your bippy he’ll be talking about some aspect of databases, because database folks gotta database.

Also returning from last year is Brian Topol, IBM’s distinguished engineer for open technology and developer advocacy. He’s also a Kubernetes contributor and doc maintainer, as well as the Kubernetes SIG Docs and Workgroups chair. Last year he gave an Introduction to Kubernetes talk which is also available for viewing. Again, no word yet on what his subject matter will be this year, but it’s probably a safe bet that it’ll be Kubernetes-focused.

Jason van Gumster, the Blender consulting lead at Orange Turbine (and who’s also the author of Blender for Dummies) will also be speaking. Just last week, van Gumster led an ATO-hosted webinar, Blender 101, that’s also available online. During the webinar, he said that at Open Source 101 he was hoping to talk about how to use Blender, which makes it a shoo-in that he’ll be leading the 90 minute discussion listed on the overview as “Blender 101: How to Use It”.

Taking Conference Prizes to a New Level

While All Things Open and Open Source 101 are both known for supplying attendees with world class speakers, during the last year or two they’re also getting a reputation for supplying best-in-class prizes, and this event promises to continue that tradition.

To be sure, there will be plenty of typical conference swag, such as ATO t-shirts and caps (the ATO 2021 shirts are way-cool, BTW), but they’ll be playing second, maybe third, fiddle to the drool-worthy real prizes being offered.

Open Source 101 Raspberry Pi prize
Raspberry Pi kit is one of several prizes that will be given away at this years Open Source 101.

How good are the prises? How about a System76 Pangolin laptop, a Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook, Apple AirPods Max, an 11-inch Apple iPad Pro 11 with 128 GB storage, and Raspberry Pi Desktop Kits. I’m not the stick shaking type, but if I were, I wouldn’t shake a stick at any of these.

“How do I win?” I hear you ask. Well, it’s a competition.

“Attendees will accumulate points while navigating around the virtual environment, and winners will be chosen from those choosing to compete,” the ATO folks said in a statement. “It’s an element we hope adds some fun and excitement to the online experience.”

Again, it’s all free. All you have to do is register.

That being said, and in keeping with the space person motif for all ATO events, I’m leaving you with a song.

Breaking News: