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Despite What You’ve Heard, Open Source 101 Isn’t Just for Newbies

Although Open Source 101 (which will be coming to Charlotte, North Carolina for the first time on Thursday March 23) primarily targets those new to open source, veteran open sourcers can find benefits from attending, too.

Open Source 101 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina
A hallway booth at the last pre-pandemic Open Source 101, held in Columbia, South Carolina.
Source: Open Source 101

If you live within driving distance of Charlotte, North Carolina and don’t have any plans for next Thursday (that’s March 23), you might want to make plans to attend Open Source 101 2023. It’s a single day conference, meaning that if you’re coming from Raleigh, Greensboro, or Asheville you won’t have to stay away from home overnight.

Don’t let the fact that it’s being billed as an “introduction to open source” event keep you away. By my way of thinking, if you’re like most of us, there are probably plenty of aspects to open source that are not generally in your everyday wheelhouse. Here’s your chance to do some catching up in these areas, without needing to have a whole lot of knowledge when walking in the door.

I asked Todd Lewis, the founder and chairperson of Open Source 101 (and it’s much larger sister conference All Things Open), about this assumption of mine, and he agreed.

“Based on the feedback we’ve received over the years via post-event anonymous surveys, many ‘veterans’ have benefited the most,” he said. “Many have been working in a proprietary environment for years and are now being asked to operate and engage in open source, or possibly integrate open source technology or processes into an existing closed infrastructure. As a result, they often need a firm understanding of the basics.

“They’re also looking for ‘experts’ in the field they can talk to, and an event provides a good opportunity to establish relationships,” he added. “We also get veterans that do have a firm understanding, but they want to brush up on certain topics like licensing and learn about new technologies they’ve never been exposed to.”

It’s also a perfectly sized event to make attendance stress free. It’s large enough to attract great speakers, but small enough to be easy on the nerves. As Goldilocks said when she got to the third bowl of porridge, Open Source 101 is “just right.”

Come for the Speakers — Stay for the Networking

As you might expect from a conference being presented by All Things Open, the folks who put on the huge open source event in Raleigh each year, the speakers lined up for this year’s Open Source 101 are all top shelf (or as the ATO folks like to call them, “world class”).

Just how world class? Like a page out of the open source version of Who’s Who.

Try these on for size: Jim Jagielski, among other things co-founder of the Apache Software Foundation, will be there to talk about licensing; Lin Sun, who’s been working with the Istio service mesh since before it was a thing (she’s currently on the project’s technical oversight and steering committees), will talk about Istio Ambient Mesh; Brad Topol, an IBM Distinguished Engineer, as well being Big Blue’s director of open technologies and chief developer advocate, will give a presentation on cloud native technologies; and Brent Laster, DevOps and R&D director at SAS, will be conducting an “intro to Kubernetes” extended session that will fill up the entire morning on the Technology 2 track.

The extended Kubernetes session, by the way, will be followed by another extended session on Kubernetes security that will be conducted by Marc Boorshtein, the CTO at Tremolo Security, a company that specializes in Kubernetes security.

If that sounds like a good start, there’s more where that comes from, such as two additional extended sessions: “Zero to Open Source Contributor,” conducted by Keegan Campbell, a senior software engineer at GitHub, and “How to Get Your Website Into the Cloud,” from Kerim Satirli, a senior developer advocate at HashiCorp.

All in all, there will be five tracks (Developer, Technology 1 and 2, Processes, and Case Study/Projects) that will include a total of 26 sessions, along with five keynote addresses. Definitely not bad for a “small” single-day event, eh?

All keynote addresses, as well as the Developer and Technology 1 tracks, will be live streamed. These live streams are available for free but require registration (just select “Streaming Registration” to register without charge.)

With that many top shelf speakers, not to mention the organizations who’ll have booths in the hallways (ATO generally puts booths in the hallways instead of in a separate showroom for easier access), the networking possibilities should be obvious.

Open Source 101 – the 50-Cent Tour

Open Source 101 is something of a movable feast, and has been held at several different venues in the Carolinas over the years. This will be the first time that the event has been held in Charlotte, a banking center that’s strong in the fintech arena, although ATO did hold an evening Meetup in the Queen City in January.

The conference focuses on the basics of open source. The content is generally introductory or intermediate level, and is designed as an ‘on- ramp’ to open source, open tech, and the open web, or as a refresher. According to the event’s organizers, the goal of the conference is “to provide enough education and guidance so those attending can effectively contribute to and consume open source and generally operate within an open source environment.”

Open Source 101 2023 will take place at The Dubois Center at UNC Charlotte Center City, 320 East 9th Street in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday March 23. The keynotes start at 8:45 am Eastern Daylight Time, but advised to arrive early to complete the registration process. Doors open at 7 am EDT. Same day in person registration will be available at the door, but registration online in advance is much less expensive.

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