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Five Tracks to Rule Them All

The track names for Open Source Bridge are a little unusual. No Ruby, Perl, System Administration, Linux—instead we have Cooking, Chemistry, Culture, Hacks (and Business, but you’ve seen that one elsewhere). So what’s going on? How are these relevant to open source software?

When we had our very first planning meeting for the conference, we made a big list of everything we wanted to cover (with colorful commentary—sorry, we were pretty excited).

Our initial conference content outline

Our initial conference content outline

In the course of the discussion, we realized that if every topic we were excited about had its own track, we would have way too many of them to manage. Also, it would go against one of our core principles: we want to bring people together, not shuffle them off into separate rooms. So we decided to take a different tack, and group the content around how we approach it, not what the underlying technology is.

That’s how we ended up splitting the most technology-heavy topics into three tracks: Cooking, Chemistry, and Hacks. I think they make the most sense if viewed as a group. We learn what to do via cooking, following recipes until we’re able to improvise our own. We learn why it works by studying the chemistry, which lets us see what’s happening at lower levels. Finally, we rewrite the rules by hacking. This isn’t a linear progression; we may jump from one approach to another frequently in the course of our work.

The other two tracks round out the picture. Business is about how we earn a living. Culture is all of the other things we do around our work, like organizing user groups, managing projects, and applying the open source ethos to other areas of our lives.

We arranged these five tracks to cover the full scope of our open source existence. Within them, there’s plenty of room to talk about individual languages and tools, even at the advanced level, but sharing with people from a range of backgrounds. We can all learn much from each other.

Hopefully, this provides a better frame of reference for our tracks. (And now you’ve got even more reason to submit your own proposal.)

7 Trackbacks

  1. By links for 2009-03-03 » Silicon Florist on March 3, 2009 at 1:01 am

    […] Five Tracks to Rule Them All Via Open Source Bridge "The track names for Open Source Bridge are a little unusual. No Ruby, Perl, System Administration, Linux—instead we have Cooking, Chemistry, Culture, Hacks (and Business, but you’ve seen that one elsewhere). So what’s going on? How are these relevant to open source software?" (tags: opensourcebridge opensource osbridge tracks events spinnerin portland oregon 2009) […]

  2. […] Five Tracks to Rule Them All […]

  3. By Calling all Students - Open Source Bridge on March 22, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    […] in open source citizenry, giving attendees access to all aspects of open source through our famous five tracks: Cooking, Chemistry, Hacking, Culture and […]

  4. By Calling all User Groups - Open Source Bridge on March 23, 2009 at 11:09 am

    […] Because your conference is different. It’s focused on open source as a whole, as the sum of its various parts, not on the […]

  5. […] Session tracks are technology agnostic, based instead around shared community experiences and focused on similarities between projects, not differences. […]

  6. […] stages, we thought we could attract 300-400 people from out of town. After all, the conference spans technologies and languages, focusing instead on the shared experience of being an open source […]

  7. […] important things for the new comers – like we’re having the same format as last year! Five talk types, over three days, and a full day of unconferencing on Friday. The presentation lists the many, many […]

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