Embracing Open Source

Last month, I had the opportunity to give a talk at a local tech event, manc.js, about embracing open source software. I was excited to share my passion for open source with a new audience, and I was even more excited by the positive response that I received.

I’ve been using open source software since I first started tinkering with code in my early teens, and I believe this gave me a great foundation to build on in my career as a software developer. I wanted to share my experience with others, and hopefully encourage more people to use and contribute to open source projects.

In my talk, I started by defining open source and briefly going through its history. I then discussed the four freedoms, and why I believe freedom is so important for open source software. Following this, I talked through some of the benefits of contributing and also described some of my favourite aspects of being part of an open source community.

Finally, I gave some advice on how and where to start contributing. I put together a list of resources and recommended reading around open source, and listed some suggested projects that I’ve had great experiences with.

I ended with a simple action people can do to begin contributing to a project

On the day of the event, I was extremely nervous but also very excited. I was one of two speakers, and I chose to go first so I could enjoy the rest of the event without my nerves getting in the way.

Watching the room being prepped for the event made me even more nervous!

Once I started speaking, I felt my nerves melting away as I saw the engagement and interest in the faces of the audience. I was thrilled to receive several questions during the Q&A portion of the talk (especially about Weezer, which I’d managed to squeeze in a whole slide about.)

The view from the Slalom office in Manchester, where the event was held

The highlight of the event was learning how genuinely interested people are in contributing to open source. I spoke to many attendees who were either already contributing or who wanted to contribute but didn’t know how or where to start, and I felt a sense of fulfillment in knowing that I was able to offer some inspiration and encouragement.

I also met lots of new people and made some new friends, which is the main reason I love attending local tech events!

Some of the chocolate available at the venue, also one of the main reasons I attend events

I would encourage anyone who is thinking about speaking at an event about open source to grab the opportunity and share their knowledge and passion with others. I believe it’s one of the most amazing things about the tech industry – it gives us the power to collaborate, innovate, and be part of the best online communities. So let’s spread the open source love, and encourage even more people to join us!

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