This is the first time I’ve attended OS Bridge. I’d known about it before while living in PDX. I had seen numerous people sitting in Bailey’s, Backspace, and other places around town after the days of the conference in past years. This year I actually got to experience it myself and am stoked with the experience!
The conference started off proper on Tuesday and is wrapping up today (Friday). It has been a great ride. The conference is a community organized event, but you’d think it was a high end professional conference in many ways. The food was awesome, the sessions covered a huge range of topics, and people at the conference had a great attitude and energy around learning about the open source community and what it’s about!
There are a couple of things that really stood out to me above other aspects of the conference.
People in the OSS Community are not like other communities that I have often interacted with in the past. The OSS Community as a whole is a lot less likely to focus on negatives and instead is much more focused on learning, knowing new technologies, and creation of new software ideas, experiences, and opportunities. This by far sets the OSS Community apart from many other software communities. Open source software, with its very positive attitude about the future is in turn becoming the future of software development (Arguable, it already is).
The projects are some of the most wide ranging of many conferences that I’ve attended. Ranging from algorithms of odd complexities to zoological studies. There is no unturned stone in the realm of open source software. One of the binding themes in most of the projects, which is really what brings out an awesome aspect of open source, is that the projects are very community driven. I don’t mean just software community, but communities in general. The transit app, which of course would be one of my favorites (re: Transit Sleuth), is centered around enabling businesses within a community to encourage transit usage (something I strongly believe is fundamental to strong communities in urban areas). One other project was a geolocation game (see last blog entry) that encouraged socializing IRL (In Real Life) instead of just via the Internet on a device. This is the type of software that truly changes the way we live, the way we interact, and the way we as people better ourselves.
The final thing I wanted to mention, was how awesome Portland is for a conference like this. Many cities are NOT good for technical conferences, at least if you intend to geek out, study, learn, and actually make progress. Las Vegas is often used and it is a horrible city. Los Angeles, can be good sometimes but often the conferences are held in the middle of nowhere. The list of places that are bad for conferences can get long, and conference organizers should take note. But Portland has a uniqueness that is unlike anywhere else in the United States. The list of positives is massive. The city is walkable, leave your car far away from the city, life is better here without it. The food options are huge, with the best food cart scene in the United States, arguably the world (see the tail end of my day #2 Coverage). Anthony Bordain has literally said the best food cities in America are New Orleans, Portland, Seattle, and New York which I can absolutely agree with (having lived in all but one of those cities now, but visited all of them many times). The list continues; coffee, beer, food, walk ability, massive bookstore (Powell’s), etc., etc.
I’m just gonna hit up a bullet list for this purpose, because the summary items are simple:
- Portland is one of the best cities for technical conferences, hands down.
- The people and the projects these people are working on at OS Bridge are amazing, life changing projects!