Last week I had the distinct pleasure to be invited to the 4th annual Palmetto Open Source Software Conference ( known as POSSCON ). It couldn’t be a better place to be this time of year; while the weather in Northeast Ohio is still cold and dreary, Columbia, SC was sunny and beautiful in the mid 80s during the entire time I was there.
But the weather wasn’t the primary reason why I enjoyed my time at POSSCON. In all of the open source conferences I’ve been to, I think this one really was able to bring out the business folks to really engage in open source culture. And it wasn’t just the normal spin of “free and libre = good” that you often see in the open source world, but rather a truly practical look at how embracing open source can make an impact on your organization. I saw this first hand when I did my tutorial about using SugarCRM as a platform; the attendees were really interested how they could make SugarCRM work with their organization, whether it was a business, local government, or non-profit group. This is what makes open source special; it enables people to build great things without making the software to do it a barrier to entry.
As for the conference itself, Todd Lewis, the chair of POSSCON 2011, really picked an excellent venue and put on a top notch show, all at a low price that could fit in anyone’s budget. The show was professionally done from beginning to end, with only minor hickups with the wifi ( which tends to be an issue at every conference ). And from my understand the show has grown tremendously as a result of all of his and his team’s hardwork, with a 50% increase in attendance from last year, which is definite good thing for what I feel is a going to be one of the top conferences to attend in 2012.
Thanks again to Todd, Aaron, and everyone else who made POSSCON such a success. I hope to invited back next year!