OSDC 2015 Wrap-up

Open Source Developers' Conference, Hobart, 2015

Posted by Katie McLaughlin on November 2, 2015

The Open Source Developer’s Conference is one of my favourite conferences. It was the first open source conference I ever attended, and it’s how I thought this whole public speaking thing sounded like a good idea. I always learn so much from OSDC - it’s a great melting pot of ideas; it’s not a conference for a specific language, framework, product or operating system, so the amount of variety is always refreshing.

OSDC 2015 also saw the winding up of the Open Source Developer’s Club, which is a topic I will dedicate to it’s own blog post.

OH: “It’s like my entire twitter feed is in the one room!” #osdc15

There were so many amazing people in attendance at OSDC, including a number who I had seen mentioned and had interacted with online, but never in person. The Australian open source community is absolutely amazing, and if you ever have the inclination to visit down under, I strongly suggest you take part in one of the events.

For OSDC 2015, there are so many highlights for me.

Dr Maia Sauren and her wonderful keynote was the best way to start the conference. She has an amazing speaking style, and even admitted on stage that she was fangirling over some of the things she was talking about. It’s extremely endearing, and it shows true passion for what she was speaking about.

I’ve been to a few conferences this year, but one talk that I would happily watch again is Going Viral for Fun, not Profit, a true performance piece by Ben Dechrai. His ability to entertain, share, teach, and share a story all at the same time is something that is amazing to watch.

It’s not just the seasoned speakers that can give awesome talks. The presentations by Matthew Cengia and Blair Wyatt were both, as far as I’m aware[0], first time talks by first time speakers at a conference, and both presentations were able to share their projects to the audience in a way that was informative and interesting.

I’m giving my Best Talk award to Paul ‘pjf’ Fenwick and his FOSS lessons talk. This is one that I highly recommend watching the video for (and not just because some of my work was mentioned). Paul is an outstanding presenter, and his tips, tricks and factoids about how to develop a FOSS community were highly informative and useful.

As for my own talks, I presented both JavaScript is Awe-ful and Hack the Planet this year. The latter was presented to a full room, where people had to bring in chairs to add capacity to the room! This one was co-presented with Jack Skinner, who is always a pleasure to perform with.

Lightning Talk ‘Covers’

OSDC is one of those conferences that encourages everyone to get up and have a go. Both in 2014 and 2015, there were sessions at the end of each day for lightning talks; one of which was specifically delegated as “Other Skills”: it’s for non-technical stuff. Last year saw talks about topics as diverse as bushwalking and choirs, and this year included cocktails and DIY electric motorcycles.

Being a three-day conference, there were three lightning talk session, but the final day generated an interesting concept which I’m unsure has been used before: Lightning Talk Covers. I’ve written before about Ignite Karaoke, where slides are blindly auto-advanced for a lineup of volunteers, but the Lightning Talk Covers was quite different. A few of the speakers, myself included, chose to present someone else’s talk - using their slides and content, and presenting it in our own style. Jack Skinner presented Ben Dechrai’s “Patents are Cool” talk, and I presented Tom Eastman’s “Serialization Formats are not Toys”. Speaking for myself and Jack: the talks we chose are ones we admire, and want to share the message of. I’ve spoken about Tom’s talk before, and how it was one of his talks from OSDC2013 that inspired me to start public speaking, so I was absolutely chuffed to be able to (hopefully) give it the performance it deserved.


OSDC 2015 was amazing. Thank you so much to the organisers and volunteers and everyone who spoke and attended. It was a very good couple of days.


My entire tweet stream from OSDC 2015

[0] Update 2015-11-09 - Matthew informs me that he has presented before, albeit short talks, at both Software Freedom Day 2014, and the Sysadmin Miniconf at Linux Conference Australia 2014. However, OSDC marks his first full-length talk at a conference, and I think that’s a pretty significant milestone :)