Thoughts on the Great Wide Open Conference


This week I attended the first-ever Great Wide Open Conference (GWO) in Atlanta. The conference, which focuses on open source software, featured a lot of great speakers from top tech companies around the country. After two days chock-full of content, here are a few of the highlights:

  • Sustainable Government opening keynote by Clay Johnson, CEO at DOBT.co. Clay talked about how closed government hurts us, and how developers + open data can scale democracy.
  • NoSQL Databases in the Cloud by Ines Sombra, Lead Data Engineer at Engine Yard. Ines gave a high-energy rundown of MongoDB and Riak and the pros and cons of each (talk on Github).
  • Intro to Chef by Nathen Harvey, Technical Community Manager at Chef. Nathen talked about the need for configuration management tools and gave an overview of how Chef Server works.
  • Overview of Firefox OS by Jason Weathersby, Technical Evangelist at Mozilla. Jason demoed the developer tools for Firefox OS, an impressive, web-inspired mobile operating system from Mozilla.

As developers, it’s easy (and important) to focus on the backlog and pound away at our keyboards. That said, attending a conference is a good excuse to step out of the hustle-and-bustle, rub shoulders with fellow developers, and think about tools and technologies from a different perspective. It was great to see so many people come out and support open source (700+ registrants), and I hope to see the GWO come back again next year!