I attended the summit in high spirits hoping that I would gain an incite into what the open source community is all about. We speak about it all the time, open source this, open source that, open source all the things… But what exactly is the community part of open source? That was one of the things that I really I wanted to discover for myself, I was really interested in engaging with this so called “community” that when I was asked to speak about my project in France I jumped at the opportunity. After giving it days to fester, I can’t really put what I saw into words (but I’ll try). The conference was a really eye opening experience. There was everything from gaming in the cloud, machine learning AI, database consulting, and even conversations about ethics, morals, and social issues in tech. I think that’s what really struck me, it was never only about the tech.
Every organisation I spoke to always brought what they were doing back to the real world. One remark that really struck me was by someone at Intel. “how can we make the lives of the people, who use our technology better”. That was a sentence that I believe really encapsulated the “community” I saw at the conference. There were so many different organisations, so many different people with different ideas, different skills but they all had one thing in common. They all wanted to make the lives of everyone better with the thing that they were working on. It wasn’t about the money, or the prestige that many of my fellow undergrad students (and wall street) tend to see tech as. It was about bringing actual, tangible value to the everyday person. As someone originally from a tiny island in the Caribbean, seeing and hearing other people not wrapped up in their own world, but rather thinking about other people whose lives would greatly benefit from technology was amazing.
I was able to become interested in things I had never had an interest in before going to the conference. One such subject was autonomous cars, I knew that the general idea was complex but holy smokes. The complexities don’t just stop at the tech, there are ethics, morality, social, and even economic implications to the subject that I had never even thought of at all. So for me this was amazing and after many conversations I got the feeling that many, many people are very passionate about the intangibles that go into tech. The conference really showed me all sides of the community, and how many parts that don’t connect to each other on paper, can all come together as a collective. It’s all about the idea of collaboration through understanding.
For me an an undergrad, trying to see what it is that I’m interested in working on, the conference allowed me to narrow down a few of those options. After interfacing with many developers, it really inspired me to continue to be involved in open source tech. My hope is to one day start a project of my own, related to helping people living in less fortunate economic societies through tech. Open source technology would hugely help in that effort, and from this conference, I can definitely say that the open source community has gained a life long member!
Til next time…