Why Attend, the IT Edition

Although there may not be other editions of this “why attend” series, I figured I’d lay the groundwork, just in case.

There are lots of reasons to attend Open Source Bridge if you’re an open source citizen including learning from like-minded individuals, meeting other citizens, talking about your own work, discovering new projects, all that.

Oh, and you can work with your new (and old) friends at the 24-hour hacker lounge, code sprinting, bug bashing, kicking around new ideas, starting new projects, you get the gist.

I think we’ve got that angle covered because our leads live and breathe open source every day. They get what it’s about, which is why this conference exists at all.

But what if you’re not yet an open source citizen or a hacker/hobbyist? Say you work in an IT/IS department.

Why should you attend Open Source Bridge?

Glad you asked.

Being in IT, you have a bunch of software provided by vendors. You might belong to a local vendor user group, and maybe you’ve been to one of those big national or international conferences held by the vendor.

Why do you belong to a user group? Why do you go to those big conferences?

To talk to the vendor directly about product direction and chat with the people who design and build the product you use, the product managers and developers, and to talk to other people who use the software. These are opportunities to get and share information and meet liked-minded people. Sounding familiar?

It’s also very likely that your organization supports some variety of open source software: Linux, Firefox, OpenOffice, MySQL, Postgres. Even if you don’t officially support an open source product, you probably know about open source. You’ve got a baseline knowledge.

You probably don’t belong to a local user group, and you probably don’t go to big conferences for open source.

If you do, why haven’t you registered for Open Source Bridge yet?

So, why attend?

Because you get the same opportunity to talk directly to the people who build the software and to people who use it everyday. You can tell them in person what you like about the software, or would like to see improved. As a bonus, you’ll get unfiltered passion. This is important.

People in open source development are passionate about it. Just ask Selena about Postgres, or ask Audrey about Rails. You’ll also find a wide variety of opinions at the conference, and nothing makes for a rip-roaring good time like an in-depth why this vs. that discussion between two open source advocates.

And there’s gold in them thar hills.

So, you’ll have a host of open source citizens to ask about their projects, and you can see how open source happens in the hacker lounge. You’ll run into people who shape the future direction of projects, and you’ll get straight answers about the questions that are important to you and your IT department.

It’s your chance to window-shop, put a toe into the open source community pool and see if you like the temperature. We know not everyone needs to be passionate about software to use it. But it sure is nice to see that the people who write the software you use care about it, and want to make it better.

You’ll also rub elbows with other people in IT who have implemented and support open source. They can help answer the nuts and bolts questions that matter to you, the users you support and to your management.

And your management is definitely thinking more critically about open source, now more than ever. They’ll want answers, and those answers can be had from other attendees at Open Source Bridge.

For example:

Your CIO: I’m worried about support costs. What happens if there’s a bug? We don’t have a support agreement or a number we can call.

You: I spoke to the project leader and a number of the major contributors at Open Source Bridge, and they outlined the process for reporting and fixing critical bugs. They can usually fix critical issues within hours.

Your CIO: What about other companies that have implemented this? Have they had any problems?

You: I ran into other IT people who have implemented. They were very positive about the level of support and the overall responsiveness and quality from the project leads. Did you know our competition uses this software?

Your CIO: Egad, no. Let’s go forward with an implementation. You’re getting a raise.

Woo-hoo. All joking aside, if you’re in IT, you should be considering open source, and Open Source Bridge offers a chance for you to do that. You might even like it so much, you join a project.

So, register and check out the proposals. We’ll see you here in Portland in June.

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