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Celebrating “All Things Open’s” First Ten Years in Ten Days

Last updated on October 7, 2023

Has it really been 11 years since All Things Open first opened its doors, which made Raleigh, North Carolina the home for what’s become one of the most vital open-source events on the planet? Indeed it has, and during the next ten days we’re going to take a look at each and every year’s All Things Open.

Opening day at All Things Open in 2017.
Opening day at All Things Open in 2017.

We’re just 10 days away from the opening at this year’s All Things Open, which just so happens to be my favorite all-purpose open-source conference. When the doors open at this year’s event, it’ll mark the start of a new decade for the event, which was first staged in 2013 at the Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh (which remains it’s home to this day).

With ten shows behind it, we thought it might be nice to visit each of these in detail as a way of welcoming the event into its second decade, so we’re going to look at each and every one of them on a one per day basis.

What to Expect on Our Stroll Through Memory Lane

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to take up a lot of your time — and it’s definitely going to be on the fun side. Basically, each day we’ll be posting a few pictures from the year’s event which we’ll be featuring that day. One or two of these photos each day will be crowd shots or something we find interesting, but we’re particularly going to be looking at shots of well known open-sourcers who were at that year’s event — just so you can get a feel of who you missed seeing if you weren’t there (yeah, we’ve got a mean streak and we like to rub stuff in).

Also, for all but two of the events we’ll also have shots of the ATO T-shirts for that year, which I think you’ll find really interesting because they’re all really different, although they all have the familiar (and really cool) ATO “spaceman” theme. Also, where we can figure it out, we’ll list a few of the more prominent keynote address from that year and stuff like that.

Getting Started

The first of these, for All Things Open’s inaugural event in 2013, will go live in a few hours (truthfully, as soon as we finish putting it together), but in the meantime, we’ve put together a few tidbits of information as well as some resources from our archives to get you started.

  • The organization behind All Things Open for the first several years was a Columbia, South Carolina-based not-for-profit called IT-ology, the same organization that hosted the Columbia-based open-source event called POSSCON back in the first decade of the 21st century that many of you with long memories might remember.

    In advance of the first All Things Open, I wrote an article explaining IT-ology (which still exists, just not as ATO’s host) that you might find interesting.

  • Also in advance of that first All Things Open, I wrote a preview of the event, which was also the first thing I’d ever written about a tech event. What’s interesting in reading this now is how small the conference was back then when compared to how large it is today (even though at the time I thought it was huge — a tech version of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus).
  • Another interesting article from those early days was based-on an interview I did with Todd Lewis, who has been the head honcho, chairperson, and master of ceremonies at All Things Open since the beginning.

So, ten days of All Things Open are coming up, before things get real on October 15 and the doors open in Raleigh for three days of the up close and personal real thing:

2013: Remembering the First ‘All Things Open’: A look at the very first All Things Open, which brought a world-class open-source event to downtown Raleigh, which was the backyard of Red Hat, at the time the most successful independent open-source company in the world.

ATO 2014 – Year Two Brings More Speakers and More Attendees to ‘All Things Open’: The second ATO saw an increase in the amount of real estate at the Raleigh Convention Center the event would need, as well as a large increase in the number of speakers and attendees.

ATO 2015 – All Things Open Establishes Itself: Between ATO 2014 and ATO2015, All Things Open seems to have made some bold decisions and acted on them, and that helped it set the bar for itself moving forward.

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