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The crew from Tranquil Hosting made it to Day 2 of the sky-rocketingly successful @Allthingsopen conference, which took place at the Raleigh Convention Center Monday and Tuesday of this week, October 19 and 20.

First a quick shout out to the organizer for pulling an absolute who’s who of tech together for a brain-filling and extremely energizing event. Speakers came from every major player moving the tech industry – Red Hat, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Google, GitHub, CloudFoundry and also included smaller shops with deep expertise and plenty of up and comers. The format was great and the content superb.

To groc a general overview of the event, create a tweetdeck column for #ato2015 and go to town – people were thoughtfully tweeting throughout and you’ll find links to slides, whitepapers, pics and more.

What I’d like to do in the rest of this blog is focus on the conference highlights and surprises for me.

Highlights

Two things jump out here.

First, Christian Heilmann, @codepo8, gave two talks – one keynote and one session. They were among the best tech talks I’ve heard ever. If he’s at an event near you, go and he’s a must-follow on twitter.

Christian has a vision for what the web can be that he communicates passionately, with a great sense of humor and a wikipedic expertise. Some of my favorite lines were:

“Java is to JavaScript as Ham is to Hamster,” “An unknown person just bought ad block plus. Could be the Russians, could be the mafia or worse, fox news,” and “I wrote a book so my Mom would have something physical to show people what I do.”

And on the more serious side “Don’t try to match open to closed, you’ll end up with lousy open tech” and “The Web has become a lifestyle magazine that spies on us.”

Here’s the slideshare for his session talk on The ES6 Conundrum:

Christian drew loud applause during his Keynote about gaps in open web technology when he disclaimed that a primary mission of his is to kill IE8 and IE9. He referenced and then tweeted the link to a Microsoft Whitepaper with the business case you can use to help enterprises understand why they need to do this.

Christian left me, and I hope others, with a grounded sense of excitement about and ownership of the Web – it’s our Web and we can make it great and beautiful if we work smart and together, but it’s up to us.

Second were the very inspiring human interest talks. I found two in particular to be really great. Isabel Cristina, a distributed systems engineer @mesosphere, shared how her involvement in open source projects gave her the connections, confidence, skills and experience to land an amazing job at a hot Silicon Valley company. She shared:

“I wouldn’t be here without programs like @Google #SummerofCode or @Outreachy,” and “We shouldn’t be stopped by social structures when reaching for our passions and goals”

Charlie Reisinger, IT Director @PennManor School District, shared how hundreds of high schoolers get Linux laptops with root access – he challenged the audience with the question “which side of the command line should kids be on?” His answers is clear, and the results have been surprising – young adults learn how to get Netflix going through the command line. Among several other quotables, Charlie shared:

“The only pre requisite for kids to get in to the Linux help desk class is curiosity”

I also had a chance to check out a great talk by my friend Mark Hinkle on Cloud 2.0:

 

Surprises

Biggest surprises had to be Microsoft, Microsoft, oh, and Microsoft. Most people know that the new CEO, Satya Nadella, announced that Microsoft would embrace Open Source when he took over in February 2014. And some people I am sure must have known how vigorously the company was executing on this new direction – but I was not one of them – until, that is, yesterday’s keynote from Azure CTO Mark Russinovich. Mr. Russinovich detailed Microsoft’s deep and wide embrace of Open Source. I was floored and excited, as were plenty of others in the audience, judging by the tweets:

In closing, phenomenal event! Definitely plan to go next year.