Nerds are Regular People


Wake up, eat breakfast, ride the MAX. Convention buzz; free stuff, lights, displays, vendors and myriad sessions to attend. After-parties; free booze, free food, mingling. Sleep for a few hours. Repeat.

OSCON was something different for everyone. I’ve read through countless blogs about language wars, what’s hot or not, great epiphanies or laughing stocks. I didn’t find anything so life-altering that I feel the need to strap on my asshat and preach about this or that from my small little soapbox.

I will say that seeing everyone pulled together was very interesting. I couldn’t help but be amazed by the community — the people, not the booths. The faces and ideas were far brighter than the lamps in the exhibition hall.

Having never been to a conference like this before, I was pretty excited. I had never seen so many people with similar interests gathered in the same place. It was my first chance to meet a community I have known for so long but had never met in person.

After my first day, I asked myself what did I learn today? And most of what I learned had nothing to do with code but more to do with people:

  • Many of the people I met weren’t from the US
  • Almost everyone was very open and respectful
  • Nobody forgot to have fun
  • No dress code!
  • Even “famous” nerds were just regular people solving regular problems

Having been there, I now have this positive feeling of some sort of global/communal pride. The open source community is full of problem solvers. They find solutions to real-world problems everyday. They bang their heads on bugs, drink lots of caffeine, lose sleep over things and drink beer when they can. And the whole time they have fun doing it. Sounds a lot like what I do.

So I felt like I was a part of something. As corny as it sounds, that was the biggest impression OSCON made on me. We are the firefighters of the digital world, the construction workers of the IT industry, and the police of the internets. We all have our roles, we all contribute in some way, and every once in a while we come together at some convention like OSCON and celebrate it.

OSCON was a little like a family reunion. There were mothers, fathers, and the estranged cousin nobody likes.