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A Hitchhiker's Guide to Open Source

Pycon Elena

PyCon is the largest annual professional event for the Python programming language. This year it was held in Montreal, Canada 9th - 17th April and I was lucky enough to attend, and speak.

The Python community prides itself on a supportive, open and collaborative culture and this conference is the biggest expression of that. Unlike most technical conferences these have an excellent reputation for being fun, social and educational as well as a great technical experience. That's why they are so popular and tickets are in high demand. The conference is intentionally limited to only 2,500 attendees (it is sold-out months in advance and in the past tickets have been scalped!)

To give a brief overview of the format, the conference included 3 days for 100 Conference / Technical presentations, 2 days of Tutorials, 4 days of Development Sprints (collaborative programming sessions) and several Lightning Talk sessions, a Poster Session, Education Summit and much more.

The conference itself is surrounded by heaps of networking and social events including a Charity Auction (to raise money for women in programming initiatives), a 5k Charity Fun Run plus conference dinners, sponsored events, after parties, poker nights and more.

It was a very intense experience, where I had a chance to get close to and then deliver a presentation to some of the best programming talent in the world. I even managed to beat some of them at boardgames!

During the conference there was a freak cold snap and it snowed in Montreal, which was a beautiful thing to see.

It was a great honour to talk during the main technical conference (only 12% of talks submissions are accepted, ie: 88% are rejected).

I presented about 'Open Source Software', a subject I studied during my Masters degree with one of the most high profile open source authors in the world. This is not the first time I've presented this material but it was my first time speaking at an international conference.

I was fairly nervous weeks in advance, but I'm happy to report that my talk was very positively received!