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All Things Open 2021 – Tentative Steps Out of Quarantine

All Things Open 2021 was the conference’s ninth outing, and with Covid still very much around was held both online and in-person.

The 2021 All Things Open T-Shirt

All Things Open 2021 T-shirt design that features four spacemen, apparently walking on the surface of the moon.
For the return of in-person events, the T-shirt for All Things Open 2021 featured multiple spacemen.

In 2021 All Things Opened reopened its doors to in-person attendance. This was done with an abundance of caution, with proof-of-vaccination or a negative test required, and with onsite rapid testing available on-premises. As will be evident in the photographs from this event, social distancing was also built-in to all seating arrangements.

Shortly after this event was in the books, All Things Open’s chairperson Todd Lewis wrote an article for FOSS Force on the five things he learned from putting on an in-person event during a pandemic.

Year Nine by the Numbers… and More

Sparse audience for keynotes at All Things Open 2021.
The size of the opening day keynotes audience at All Things Open 2021, the first post-pandemic in-person ATO event, was a far cry from the last pre-pandemic event in 2019, when the Raleigh Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom had been packed.

Looking at the numbers for this return to in-person event, and comparing them with pre-pandemic numbers offers a sobering glimpse of Covid’s economic impact. The event was hybrid, meaning attendance was both online and in-person, and while overall attendance, at 4,800+, was about the same as in 2019, only 1,000 of those were attending in-person.

Those who were there, however, were given the full All Things Open treatment that was only slightly scaled back. In-person at ATO 2019 there were 10 tracks accommodating something like 150 speakers for the two-day event. Those watching the the online version got to see “all keynote talks and 10+ tracks each day of 15, 45 and 90 minute sessions.”

As there was in 2019, on the Sunday before the event there was a pre-day for registration and a special Diversity and Inclusion event.

A poster-sized letter from All Things Open's chairperson, Todd Lewis, offering hope for the future as the pandemic slowly moves to the past.
A letter from All Things Open’s chairperson, Todd Lewis, offering hope for the future as the pandemic slowly moves to the past.

People at ATO 2021

Comcast's Nithya Ruff giving a presentation at ATO 2021.
Then head of the open source program office at Comcast, Nithya Ruff speaking at All Things Open 2021. Since 2016 Ruff has been a board member at Linux Foundation, and has been its chairperson since 2019.

All Things Open 2023 Opens Sunday

All Things Open 2023 opens this Sunday at the Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, which it has been its home since it started in 2013. The schedule for this year’s event is available online. If you’re interested in attending, you can get information on prices (it’s extremely reasonable) and register here.

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