OSCON(part I):“Make it Happen” – An interview with Allison Randal-Program Chair of O’Reilly Media


In its 12th year, OSCON continues to be the premier meeting ground for everyone using open source. Join over 2,500 people passionate about open source, from developers, designers, trainers, and programmers to sys admins, IT managers, hackers, and entrepreneurs. At OSCON, you’ll participate in hundreds of sessions covering open source languages and platforms, practical tutorials that go deep into technical skill and best practices, inspirational keynote presentations, an Expo Hall featuring dozens of the latest projects and products, fun networking events and activities, and the best “hallway track” around.

This year OSCON is coming back to Portland, Oregon – July 19-23, 2010 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. OSCON brings together people like you from across the open source universe to learn, inspire each other, and collaborate. I’ve had a great time chatting with Allison Randal, Program Chair for O’Reilly’s Open Source Convention.


Tell us more about Allison Randal. What’s the most accomplished technology you’ve seen today?

Her first geek career was as a research linguist in eastern Africa. But eventually her love of coding drew her away from natural languages to artificial ones. Allison is the architect of Parrot (a virtual machine for dynamic languages), on the board of directors of The Perl Foundation, and founder and president of Onyx Neon. She co-authored Perl 6 and Parrot Essentials, and has edited various O’Reilly books on dynamic languages including Perl Hacks and Programming PHP. Allison is currently working on her PHD in UK. Her favorite technology built in this age would be thunderbird 3 of email applications. Two thumbs up to the developers who built this amazing technology platform

Tell us more about this year Open Source Convention in Portland, Oregon? What can we expect from OSCON 2010 this year? What are the key differentiators this year?

Last year we shy away from Portland but we’ve realized that we want to come back to Portland because there is more support from the Portland community. Portland as a city is smaller comparison to Silicon Valley but they have a large technology community; it’s considered as the open source tech big event of the week. Basically, it is one of the biggest open source conferences in the US.

New sessions include Government track and health track- open source in health and technology. The healthcare industry is changing; there is an opportunity for an open source to grow in that space- it is quite an expensive solution of keeping and storing patient’s data. So, there is a huge benefit for the open source solutions.

How would the process in developing key notes and sessions different from year after year?

This year there is a theme. The theme is “make it happen” – open source is in the position of broad acceptance now, we need to educate and expose as many individuals as possible- it’s on the cross road! You need to take the action now and open source can actively change the future. We encouraged public for proposal submission that flows along with that theme. This year we get about 700-750 proposals; we’ve had space about 150 sessions only. The committee takes different pieces of technology to review those proposals; for example: python and ruby each segment of program will be covered by the subcommittee then, we will vote on the final proposals. Basically, we’ll take the top ranks one.

Are you expecting more attendees this year?

We are hoping for more attendance. And yes, it will be; it will be bigger than last year and the year before.

Which sessions are you most excited about?

Two things most excited: cloud and Scala summit; as well as emerging languages camp! Crucial key elements in the open source community. Also, there are dozens of amazing speakers on top of the game that will be presenting. Jill Tarter, SETI Institute and Rob Pike, Google Inc and there are many more great keynotes/speakers throughout the week. To capture what’s hot this year; every year our conference changes with the current technology. Cloud technology is taking off; this year we have a great cloud computing key session by Simon Wardley, Leading Edge Forum. He will share the evolution of technology, the management challenges this brings and the common myths that surround the concept of cloud computing.

Any take away for the attendees?

The idea of how they could get involved in the open source community. To get involve in the local user group and get to know people in that community. Most people are welcoming and embracing the new idea.

Be sure to join Girls in Tech Portland Chapter at OSCON 2010 this year at Portland Oregon. Register today and receive special discount by being a Girls in Tech member.

OSCON takes place July 19-23, 2010 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon.

Register now and save 15%. Use discount code os10pgit when registering at: http://www.oscon.com/oscon2010

For More info for our local Portland chapter, go to our facebook page. If you are interested in being a guest speaker and/or panelist for our workshops and lectures, pls feel free to drop me an email: ivo@girlsintech.net

tweet @allisonrandal @mssonicflare @oscon @24notion @gitweet

#oscon #portland #opensource

About the author