It was an amazing experience: from talking to — literally — hundreds of Pythonistas, to the after-hour social events and seeing the embracing and welcoming Python community in action. The conference is super well-organized and packed to the brim with top-notch content: amazing keynotes, a deluge of talks to choose from, lightning talks and open spaces. There was a lot of top quality content for all skill levels from very beginners to absolute experts. The expo hall was always bustling with traffic and, as expressed earlier, I had hundreds of good casual chats and some very meaningful ones with long time python community members, python core developers and with the organizers of the conference.
It was also a good chance to speak to colleagues in the industry, learn about what they're working on, make fun of buzzwords ("hybrid native", "serverless", etc.) and speak about the progress of OpenStack (as well as the challenges it faces both from proprietary clouds and proprietary virtualization and management thereof). In the process I spoke to many fellow developers about what exactly IBM Blue Box is, what private cloud is (a surprising number of people weren't clear on what it meant) and what our value proposition is.
The conversation usually went as follows:
Them: "What exactly do you mean by 'private cloud'?"
Me: "The most common description would be single-tenant OpenStack cloud, hosted in dedicated hardware in one of IBM Cloud's 20+ worldwide data centers. We manage the whole environment up to and including the OpenStack-hypervisor layer as well as providing technical support for any of the above."
Brows raised, eyes wide open they would respond, "Interesting. So you also then spin up and maintain VMs and what not?"
Me: "No. All of that is on the customer. They get to manage and handle anything above OpenStack."
Them: Huh, that's not at all bad, actually."
Obviously there's a lot more nuance, details and options, but those aren't appropriate when trying to explain the basics of our business.
I suppose the whole point of the passage above is to say that community-building and business aren't mutually exclusive. Businesses can (as IBM Blue Box does) help FOSS communities grow via direct code contributions, monetary donation or personnel participation.
To close, EuroPython conference was bar-none. It really had it all: scenic setting, friendly community, technical, gender and cultural diversity. If you have the chance, you should definitely attend next year, no question.
Have you read the news?
Rumor has it this cloud thing is taking off.