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.
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.
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 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!
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!