I went to my first OLS (Ottawa Linux Symposium) in 2005. I was living in Melbourne, Australia and I had to make it all the way to Ottawa, Canada. If you don’t want to read ahead, please consider donating to save OLS. I am providing my story after getting inspired by Matt Domsch’s: Ottawa Linux Symposium needs your help (I think I met mdomsch at OLS, and we continued working together on the Fedora Project even).
Anyway, how did I do this? In 2005, I won the national category of the Regional Delegate Program (RDP) of linux.conf.au 2005, which was sponsored by Sun Microsystems. Basically it meant that as a winner within Australia, I got to visit a grassroots event that was similar to LCA and naturally that was OLS. This was a time that the kernel summit was organised alongside the OLS, and I was totally excited. Not only did Sun pay for my travel & expenses to LCA 2005 (my first time to Canberra to boot), they also covered me to head to Ottawa.
I really like that particular sponsorship as it allows the real stars of open source, the individual contributors, to attend the conference and gain recognition for their efforts. It works by paying the expenses and conference fees for ten key contributors (one from New Zealand and nine from around Australia) to attend the event, and then giving one of them (in this case Colin Charles from Victoria, a contributor to both Fedora and OpenOffice.org) an all-expenses paid trip to a conference in Europe or the US.
Who’d have thought that a relationship that started in 2005 would continue till this very day (we talked during due diligence of MySQL/Sun days, we worked together at Sun, and now Simon is the CEO of the MariaDB Foundation) in so many various different forms?
Looking back, connecting the dots, I’d like to think a lot of this was enabled by LCA and OLS (and the opensource stewardship that Sun Microsystems stood for). If anyone wants to look at a talk I wrote in 2005, about my experience with OLS and the very first Ubuntu Summit (pre-UDS, this was UbuntuDownUnder), take a look at The Last Two Weeks of My Life.
That said, I digress. This post is about OLS and its organiser Andrew Hutton (ajh). I’ve visited OLS several times as an attendee, and even as a speaker. I’ve not made it there in the last few years due to conflicting commitments, but I sincerely hope to make it there in 2015. You need to help the event by donating to OLS.
I’ve met so many people in various walks of life at OLS. OLS was a big event during the times of the kernel summit. It may have not grown much since, but the movers and shakers of the opensource world were always there. I learned so many new things, met so many great people, and networked with an awesome lot of folk.
That to me was the benefit of going all the way to Ottawa. Community. Camaraderie. Inclusiveness. Lasting friendship.