I have been involved in Open Source since the past two years and have always wanted to attend an international conference relating to the same because attending conferences teaches us about the latest technology, allows us to network with people from different parts of the world as well as gives us an opportunity to collaborate with others.
In February I applied for a Diversity Scholarship and Travel Grant to OSS Japan through the Linux Foundation. I got the acceptance for the Diversity Scholarship within a week and was really happy. However, I knew I would not be able to afford to go if I was not awarded the Travel Grant. A month later, I was over the moon when I got a mail saying that I had been awarded the travel grant. It meant I could finally attend my first international conference ! (Tip: Always apply super-early so that you have enough time to get your VISAs and book tickets. Often VISA’s take over two weeks!)
This blog is an attempt to summarize my experience as well as give some useful tips to future attendees.
AMAZING SPEAKERS AND TALKS
The conference was held at Toranomon Hills Forum in Tokyo. When I registered at the Venue I was given a beautiful T-shirt and attendee badge.
I then went to attend the talks. (Tip: Since lots of talks will be taking part in parallel, download the Sched app a day or two before the conference and plan your schedule beforehand so that you don’t waste time figuring out which talk to attend.) Here are some of the talks that really stood out for me.
- Almost all the keynotes, especially Urban Computing with Kepler.gl by Travis Gorkin. In this talk, he explained the core concepts, tools, and methodologies for Urban Computing, and demonstrated how they can be used to create solutions that improve the urban environment. It was something totally new for me and I would recommend you to check out keplergl.
- How to Use Linux in Long Term by Tsugikazu Shibata where he talked about LTS for Linux, stable releases as well as kernel development statistics, community governance etc.
- Trusted AI by Patricia Ferreiro. This talk was of special interest to me because I had researched on the very same topic last semester and it was refreshing to hear her views. Her talk was very well structured and dealt with fairness, robustness against malicious attacks and accountability of AI. Her slides can be found here.
- The Untold Story Behind Creating an Open Source Program Office by Brian Hsieh from Uber. He shared his observations and takeaways from building an open source team.
- Kernel Documentation: What We Have and Where We’re Going by Jonathan Corbet.
- (How to) Be a Good Citizen in Open-Source Documentation by Robert Kratky. He talked about best practices for writing and maintaining docs as well as the importance of writing them.
There were so many other talks that were awesome, but I think mentioning them all will make this blog too technical and lengthy. 😶
(Tip: Always carry a small notepad with you and note down key takeaways from a talk, it helps you later on if you want to study about the topic.)
THE COOL SPONSOR SHOWCASE
Almost every conference has a section where sponsors showcase their latest products/ advances in technology. Attending this is a great way to meet new people from different companies, learn about the latest technologies as well as collect some free swag 😏
(Tip: Try talking to the people at the booths to know about their company culture as well as job opportunities.)
One cool project by RedHat was that they were running a Fedora system on Nintendo ! Another cool thing I learnt was about kata containers.
NETWORKING AND MAKING NEW FRIENDS
Conferences are THE best place to meet like minded people.😄 I had the opportunity to attend a Women In Open Source Lunch where I got to meet women at different points in their career, talked to them about their struggles, aspirations and also got some valuable advice for my future. The networking session organized by the conference organizers was also a good place to network. I made many friends from all over the world.
Apart from the networking session, the conference also had a job board.
(Tip: If you are looking for jobs, make sure to keep a few copies of your resume handy and go and talk to the job posters. Introduce yourself and tell them you would be applying later ! )
Thank you Linux Foundation 💛
I learnt so much and had lots of fun at the conference. This would not have been possible without Linux Foundation and I thank it from the bottom of my heart for giving me this opportunity. Special thanks to Jacynth Roberts for being so helpful and clearing all my queries. Looking forward to contributing more to Open Source and attending/(possibly speaking ?!) future Open Source Summits.