Two weeks ago, I attended my very first OSCON in Austin, TX. Coincidentally, this was my first time visiting Austin as well. I didn’t really know what to expect, so I kept an open mind and hit the conference floor bright and early.
Thinking back on it now, I can wholeheartedly say that the experience was amazing. The food was delicious. I probably ate more BBQ in three days that I had in one full year and do not regret it! The atmosphere was welcoming – everyone was friendly. Really bringing that Southern Comfort out. Not only was everyone at the conference very nice but also super intelligent and passionate about open source.
Calling all challenges
As I sat at booth 607, I saw firsthand how open source has become a dominant force in the industry and how it is, in fact, eating the world. Everyone that I spoke with would explain in depth about how OSS increased their efficiency at all points of the SDLC. Approximately 70 percent of my discussions were about various Linux-based packages, of which, CentOS was the most prominent. It was interesting to see that the perception of CentOS support was highly centered around risk that most of the individuals were willing to assume. Almost analogous to an insurance policy.
As I learned more about their applications, the most common questions were centered around security hardening and various alternatives to commercial package offerings. Luckily, my partner in crime and architect from our support team, Justin Reock, was able to speak in depth about how we at Rogue Wave could assist. Near the end of our discussions, we would post a challenge to all: anyone that could stump Justin would receive a swag-bag of goodies. Justin zigged and zagged defeating close to 50 contenders…until all but one. A gentleman from a world-renowned credit card company hit Justin with a zinger thus defeating our champion.
Mergers and obligations
The other 30 percent of my conversations were with individuals curious about merger and acquisition activities. Specifically, if a company was acquiring software assets or divesting portions of assets, what measures would they have to take to ensure their open source usage was compliant with various license obligations and what was required to distribute their code. I had some very good conversations about risk and exposure and the impact that could have on their ability or purchase or divest.
All in all, OSCON was a great success. I learned a great deal and met many new friends. I will definitely return next year, however I’d do a couple of things differently. First, I would try to attend a couple of the sessions. I think there would be great value in learning from the industry’s thought leaders. Second, I’d wear a shirt and jeans – I may have been a tad overdressed. Here’s to 2017!