Why State of Open Con is for you!

Blog Post By: Jennifer Riggins

If open source makes up at least 70% of technical stacks, that means it has the ability to touch billions of lives. Using, contributing to and distributing open source software comes with great responsibility. Many problems that are reflected around the world have both the potential to be solved or amplified by open source. 

It’s an honour to invite you to a new conference built for Open Technology –  open source software, open hardware and open data – stakeholders large and small: State of Open Con #SOOCON23.

This, the U.K.’s first Open Technology conference, acts as the global launchpad for the future of open source software, open hardware and open data in 2023 and beyond. To bring together everyone who matters — or should realise they matter — in Open Tech to work on what’s really important.

We wanted to give you a glimpse into what this revolutionary event will look like from the inside, in hopes that you and your team will consider joining us 7 and 8 February in London.

The Future of Open Source Software

State of Open Con’s definition of the future of open source software does not just include businesses, but the public sector, government, open source strategists, NGOs and the United Nations, as well as citizen developers, maintainers and contributors. Like everything with this inclusive event, the definition of open source contributor also is broadened to not only include developers, but doc writers, developer relations, ethics advisors and other important community members that don’t always have GitHub stars, but they have ours.

While free and open would logically pit against business, these rivals find common bedfellows in the open source software world today. In part that’s because businesses large and small rely on, contribute to, and even sponsor open source software. There are also thousands of software and consulting businesses who have built for-profit business models on the basis of open source software — while still keeping it free and open at its core or in its entirety. We welcome all these diverse ways that organisations engage with open source and participate in and contribute back to its future. 

Our CEO Amanda Brock will host the keynote plenary discussions which will consider the future of open source software. Focusing on its users – the businesses and public sector building their infrastructure on it – and the need for maturity in end user curation, maintenance, funding and resourcing of open source software. The plenaries will engage The United Nations, governments, sovereign funds, philanthropists and others whose focus must shift to a joined up international response to the needs of open source. This is a conversation every participant in open source software should hear. 

We have six themes with five exceptional organising Host leaders steering the tracks supported CFP Committees:

Keep your eyes peeled for the special programme set to launch the second week of January. 

Open Source Startup Entrepreneurship 

This sixth track warrants its own section. For many the biggest challenge of open source — trying to build a community-first, free and open business. The track supports both start up entrepreneurs and those building the skills for an open source business. It includes dozens of successful open source founders to coach and mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs and business people. Each of five sessions in this track kicks off with a 45-minute panel, followed by 45-minute roundtable discussions hosted by those founders, looking to kick off long-term mentoring relationships and to answer the many questions of the business of open source: 

  • How can you generate revenue when you share your assets open source?
  • How does open source really work?
  • How can you build a healthy community to ensure you have a well-maintained future?
  • How do you hire and scale your business?
  • How do you foster a  community with a purpose and a sense of belonging?

We’re excited that open source startups like yours will gain unprecedented access to founders, contributing to the sustainability of the future of open source.

The Unconference and Delegate Experience – DX

Not everybody wants to spend two eight-hour days sitting in a conference room looking at slides — does anyone actually? We are intentionally creating an event which has as much space to hang out — even in teepees around a fire pit…across from Parliament square — as it does for more traditional learning and networking. 

Our unconference track beats to its own drum — well, your drum, really. Two fully self-organised, participant-driven days of activities and collaboration, that you are invited to drop in and out of. Bring an idea or just vote for someone else’s. 

An unconference always serves to break the conference mould, which is why this track is facilitated by the inimitable and creative Paula Kennedy, Hannah Foxwell and Terence Eden

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

We’re not just aiming for an inclusive-in-name-only event. We are building the event to match up with the Linux Foundation’s CHAOSS Diversity & Inclusion Event Badging Goals:

  • Feedback first, as an important way of fostering an inclusive experience across all participants
  • A code of conduct with clear enforceability built in, leveraging the gold standard Contributor Covenant Code of Respect 
  • Family-friendly facilities, with a place to breastfeed and childcare and doggy daycare services 
  • Accessibility requirements, which QEII is naturally set up for, along with quiet rooms to accommodate neurodiversity and prayer needs
  • Free event tickets for people who are marginalized in the tech industry, as well as inviting community organizations that cater to those underrepresented in tech to have free tables among the sponsored ones.
  • An effort toward building a real community, measured, in part, by retention rates over the two days and year over year.

With this intentional diversity, equity and inclusion in mind, we will not be having a DEI track or session because, as our chief DEI officer Nicolas Vibert put it, “only the people who are actively interested in DEI attend these sessions.”

Won’t you join us?

If technology is our future and open source is its backbone, we must constantly consider the future we are building and who is participating in it. Let’s build that open future together.

We don’t pretend to promise that this will be a perfect event. But we do believe it’ll be a unique, memorable experience.

See you 7 and 8 February 2023 at the Queen Elizabeth Centre II in London. Get your ticket now.