My experience at Open Source Summit North America 2017

I’m a student with a lot of extracurricular activities. I’m a passionate open source developer, past Google Summer of Code 2016 & 2017 Intern, Google Code-in mentor, Software Developer(Skylabase Inc.), Docker Campus Ambassador, Buea Java User Group Leader, Google Code-in Org Admin(OpenMRS).

During my the Google Summer of Code 2017 applications, I remember having some discussions with my friend Konrad and asked if he’ll be applying for GSoC again this 2017 and he was like man, I’m not sure I’ll have the time to prepare a proposal, I’ll be traveling to Germany for CloudNativeCon and I’m like man that’s so cool. Who’s sponsoring and he said Linux Foundation. And I was like wow you must be a hell of a contributor to linux then. I was shocked to find out he had never contributed to any of Linux Foundations projects before the scholarship was awarded though he is a very passion open source developer like me and was also a GSoCer in 2015. I’m happy to say Konrad later became a 2017 GSoCer with Cloud Native Foundation something that wouldn’t have happen without attending their conference. Before this discussion with him I had been to Linux Foundations Events website a couple of times but I always felt like I’m not qualified for their scholarship since I had never contributed to any of their projects. So after hearing Konrad’s testimony I quickly visited the website again looking for interesting conferences to attend. Then I found Open Source Summit North America. That quickly got my attention. I looked at the content and found very interesting talks and amazing speakers. I was awarded the scholarship which was a complementary pass to all events at the conference. So I applied for travel funding too from Linux Foundation which was also awarded. The funds provided by Linux Foundation covered my round trip to LA and my hotel for 5 nights at JW Marriot L.A LIVE and also part of my visa fee.

The scholarship team at Linux Foundation was really helpful and very polite all the time even when I kept changing my mind sometimes. I was confused between Brussels and Ethiopian Airlines. Brussels was a shorter flight but more expensive while Ethiopia was less expensive but a very long flight with short connecting times. But I later on decided to take Ethiopia which I didn’t regret as I coincidently met two of my friends at the airport traveling to LA for the same conference with me on the same flight.

me teche and blaize.png
From left to right is me, Teche and Blaize

The flight to LA from Douala was a very long one since I took Ethopian Airlines. Was about 25 hours. At LAX, I was separated from the other guys at the customs border control. But I was fortunate enough to meet my GSoC mentor Judy Gichoya outside and we both headed to JW Marriot where I finally rejoined the guys.


at airport with mentor.png
Me and my GSoC mentor

The keynotes were really interesting. Most of the technical talks needed some prerequisite knowledge which I lacked. Most of the technical talks were was centered around sysadmins. So I mostly attended only the keynotes and leadership talks.

The change in time zone was kind of hard for me. LA is 8 hours behind Cameroon. So by 2pm I was already feeling very tired and sleepy.

I got to meet a lot of new people and some not new but met them for my first in person time like my mentor. I also met with a past GSoCer from India Vishwajeet Srivastava

Me and Vishwajeet

I had a great time at the sponsors showcase too. Found out about a lot of cool technologies that these tech companies are using. Participated in a couple jackpots though I didn’t win any :(. I also got a lot of swag from the booths.

It was great watching the interview of Linus Tovalds by Jim Zemlin. What was even cooler was taking a picture with him 😀

Me and Tovalds

Also met with some 2 Kenyan guys and a Cameroon based in boston

Part of the African crew at OSSNA

One of the other activities I really enjoyed too was the 5k fun run. Though I got tired quickly and ended up been in the last group.

morning before 5k fun run


We also had a bus tour which was short but fun.

Getting ready for the tour

I got to take a picture at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

Photo taken at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

The reception at Paramount Studios was one of the best. The choice of the venue couldn’t have been better. I saw a lot of movie artifacts. I even took a picture close to the famous star trek suit.

Me at Paramount Studios

And at the end of the conference even though I didn’t get much from the technical sessions because they needed some exposure I lacked and also because they were mostly centered around sysadmins, at least I now know what I should be learning and the next time I come for a conference like this I’ll benefit more from the technical sessions. I also learned a lot from the leadership tracks and I’m now so much involved into mentoring. I’m mentoring 2 of my juniors from university to code on the LibreHealth Radiology project. I also volunteered to be Google Code-in Org Admin for OpenMRS and a Google Code-in mentor at LibreHealth.

This was a great conference. It broadened my perspective about tech and pointed to the direction I should be going and also made me understand that, there is a lot I still need to learn. I wish a lot of people from my community will get a chance like this. Attending events like this does not only motivate you to work harder but also builds new skills in you. I can’t thank Linux Foundation enough for this.


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