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Onward OSCON, Portland Town Is Waiting

Jun 1st, 2018 12:07pm by
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Onward OSCON, Portland Town is Waiting

The 20th anniversary of OSCON arrives next month on July 16, and Portland town can’t wait for the geeks to come for a visit. This year continues the O’Reilly Media effort to move from that long-time practice of language-focus to the story of the past four years thinking more how the developer works every day.

On today’s episode of The New Stack Makers, TNS editor-in-chief Alex Williams sat down with Rachel Roumeliotis, OSCON chair and vice president of content strategy at O’Reilly Media. The two discussed what guests can expect at the conference, including what tracks are of note, the technologies behind them, and how open source must continue to bring diversity to its workforce.

“I think what we’re seeing is more the serverless architecture and evolutionary architecture and stuff like that. How things are more mobile and you can change them out. Everything doesn’t have to hook up into that monolithic architecture anymore. That’s really been a big change,” said Roumeliotis.

Another hot topic of discussion at OSCON will be artificial intelligence. In particular, how it is seeping into the average developer’s workflow and applications with the advent of machine learning. Roumeliotis noted that technologies such as Tensorflow and MXnet, and “really makes a difference in processing that data.” Additionally, Roumeliotis then went on to highlight a talk that attendees can look forward to on the artificial intelligence open source library ONNX.

The ongoing discussion around values and diversity in open source also continues to evolve, with Roumeliotis highlighting two talks in particular surrounding AI ethics and transparency in AI, including a continued need for inclusivity. “That’s why it’s so important for us to make sure that there is diversification of voices in open source. Therefore, hopefully, the things that make it to the top and are popular, like say Tensorflow, and I realize that stated with Google, I’m really hopeful, and I think they are […] that they’re welcoming for all types of people, and all types of situations are added to that project in ways that ensure we aren’t going into any of those dark alleys. I think that’s important and it’s something we have to watch, especially with ethics and AI. I think hopefully these kinds of things are done by, or taken over eventually by a committee that stops us going down that wrong path.”

Though the early days of open source are passed, the historical context of open source development is always to be considered and that only stands to mean that we must look to the leaders and the early users for inspiration to follow what path we take ourselves. Onward.


  • 5:52: What are some of the topics one should expect from OSCON in regards to back-end technologies as a service?
  • 9:22: How are you then trying to help understand the story that comes when you start thinking about the people that are developing these algorithms, architectures, and frameworks and exploring the values discussions around these that are on people’s minds?
  • 11:25: The behavior, diversity, and ethics of these open source technologies and the developer experience of them
  • 12:52: Are there more security-related talks this year at OSCON?
  • 14:19: Where do you want to take OSCON now, and where do you want to see it go?
  • 21:34: What speaker topics have been on your radar?

Feature image via Pixabay.

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