November 14, 2023

Last month I headed to Raleigh, North Carolina to attend All Things Open 2023. While the Foundation has staffed a booth in the past, it was my first time attending the conference in person. I flew in to Raleigh the day before the conference and had time to check out the city before setting up the Foundation booth. I closed out the day by trying my first North Carolinian BBQ, and it didn’t disappoint!

The first day of the conference kicked off early and Greg Wallace, Director of Partnerships and Research with the Foundation, arrived with an Ampere 2U server that had been donated by Ampere for the booth. Unfortunately, we had an issue with installation, but even so the server drew in a lot of attendees to discuss how FreeBSD on Ampere is a great combination.

The FreeBSD booth ended up having decent turnout, and I was excited to meet members of the FreeBSD community from the NC area, as well as a number of local students who were looking to learn more about the Project. My favorite part of conferences like ATO is that they cultivate a very diverse open source community. It gives us a chance to interact with experienced FreeBSD users who are excited to share stories about their history with FreeBSD, as well as new developers and users looking to install FreeBSD for the first time. We handed out a ton of FreeBSD swag and I was finally able put a face to some of the community members that I had only interacted with virtually before.

Day 2 I had a bit more time to check out some of the other booths. With over 4300 registrations, the conference was packed with people, all there to celebrate and advocate for Open Source. While there wasn’t a dedicated BSD track, Greg Wallace participated in the Open Source Initiative’s Open Source and Public Policy Panel which you can watch here. This talk catalyzed some great conversation on how the larger open source software community can collaborate to inform public policy. As we were taking down our booth, an impromptu conversation with attendees came up on the benefits of the BSD license and the future of open source, which lasted well past the end of the conference.

I really enjoyed my first All Things Open, and was delighted to have the opportunity to talk to FreeBSD users and the greater open source community about FreeBSD. I look forward to All Things Open 2024!

– Contributed by Drew Gurkowski