July 20–24, 2015
Portland, OR

OSCON 2015 Call for Speakers

Call closed 11.59pm February 2, 2015 PDT.

OSCON 2015 will celebrate, explain, and demonstrate the power of open source technologies from the inception of languages and frameworks up through their use in the enterprise. We invite you join us as we bring together a large community of contributors, learners, and leveragers.

Please submit original session and tutorial ideas that share your technology passions. Proposals should include as much detail about the topic and format for the presentation as possible. Detail matters; vague proposals face an uphill climb.

If you are one or more of the following, we invite you to submit a proposal to lead sessions and/or tutorials at OSCON 2015:

  • Developer or programmer
  • Systems administrator
  • Hacker or geek
  • Enterprise developer or manager
  • IT manager, CxO, or entrepreneur
  • Trainer or educator
  • User experience designer
  • Open source enthusiast or activist

In the past, OSCON’s amazing talks have been grouped by programming verticals. However, as open source now resides from the bottom to the very top of the programming stack, we’re evolving the way we organize the stories. All the technology you love will still be represented at the event, but we’re grouping sessions in a more holistic way to help you discover, consider, and solve groups of critical problems.


Identity is an emerging and nuanced facet in the digital age and an exciting cross-functional track at OSCON 2015. New challenges have emerged in how you can confirm you are you, and new desires have developed to maintain a separate or even anonymous identity in online transactions ranging from coding to financial transactions.

Proposals could include such topics as:

  • NSA stories
  • Facebook
  • Real identity
  • Multiple identities
  • Facebook anonymous
  • Single Sign On
  • Right to be forgotten
  • OAuth

Security is a longstanding problem in the software world, previously organized more by technology stack, and now, being viewed through a more language-agnostic and services-oriented lens. OSCON 2015 will explore security from top to bottom, offering frameworks and libraries, strategies for testing, and field reports of both security failure and success.

Proposals could include such topics as:

  • Securing distributed and cloud systems
  • Locking down
  • Keeping actors out
  • Honeypots
  • Legal options
  • Encryption
  • Privacy
  • Open code for better security
  • Heartbleed
  • Open sourcing everything or just external libraries?

Privacy – Computers remember our interactions at a level of detail the physical world never has. Do we want to be remembered? Some technological fields have learned to forget things like credit card numbers, or to obscure names of participants in medical trials, but most of us are still figuring out how much data to collect, to retain, and to mine for meaning. Meanwhile, governments, companies, and even individuals are perfecting the arts of surveillance and evasion. OSCON 2015 will ask hard questions. How open should we be? How hard should we try to remember? Or forget?

Proposals could include such topics as:

  • Right to be forgotten
  • Anonymity
  • Data ownership?
  • Data at rest in Europe? USA? Rest of World?
  • User ownership of data
  • Pseudonyms
  • Do Not Track
  • Robot accounts acting on your behalf
  • Quantified self
  • Health data
  • Medical trials falsified by omitting data
  • Drones (cameras, CCTV)
  • WiFi anonymization of MAC addresses
  • Mobile carrier HTTP header injection
  • Anonymous bank transactions
  • Bitcoin

Performance – Most leading-edge developers consider performance to be a key consideration in the development of a great application, but the very definition of performance is something nearly impossible to agree on. OSCON 2015 will explore performance in all its facets, from compilation and interpreter time to DOM manipulation and browser responsiveness to network latency.

Proposals could include such topics as:

  • Performance choices in the cloud
  • Response time
  • Backbones
  • Hardware vs. software
  • Efficient programming
  • Network config, chatops
  • Time to repair/breakfix
  • Mobile performance
  • Real-time data (location data)
  • Location based info
  • CDNs
  • Database choices (NoSQL, SQL)
  • Mission critical resilience
  • Partition tolerance
  • Cost per minute of outage
  • The human factor of understanding fast
  • Managing security’s impact on performance

Mobility, once defined by the ownership of a laptop, has taken on hundreds of form factors and rendering technologies ranging from task-specific devices running embedded Linux to open source libraries on closed systems like iOS. OSCON 2015 will explore what it means to have a successful mobile game plan, from wearables all the way to native apps.

Proposals could include such topics as:

  • Networks you don’t own
  • End to end security
  • On-device security
  • Ownership on device
  • Intersection of free and identity and privacy
  • Location-based information
  • Mobile payments
  • Mobile architectures (unique languages like Swift)
  • Framework like Appcelerator, Aptana
  • Wearable data syncing
  • Sync experience
  • AI for data mining
  • Speech as input, command line
  • Linux on the mobile devices
  • Linux on microcontrollers, IOT devices
  • Sensors
  • IoT thermostats, scales, lights and locks
  • Car as mobile

People – We often talk about managing code and computers as if we’re just manipulating objects, but successful projects require managing people as well as software and hardware. Making projects work requires communications, collaboration, and respect, inside teams, among teams, and often across organizations and the broader world. Whether you’re working together in person or distributed across time zones and continents, OSCON 2015 will show how a new generation of tools and approaches can help you work.

Proposals could include such topics as:

  • People are data
  • Managing an open team
  • Open comms
  • Agile/lean/startup culture
  • Business skills
  • GitHub, Git
  • Massive communications, collaboration, coordination
  • Career development
  • OSS contributions that last between jobs
  • Presentation and communication skills
  • Licensing
  • Trolls
  • Misbehavior
  • Code of Conduct

Architecture – Software architecture is a massive multidisciplinary subject, covering many roles and responsibilities, which makes it challenging to grasp because so much context is required for every subject. It’s also a fast-moving discipline, where entire suites of best practices become obsolete overnight. OSCON 2015 will examine how software architecture plays a key role in the success of any business and how you can can learn to make the best decisions about your own software architecture.

  • Refactoring, problem solving
  • Bugs (shallow, deep)
  • Microservices Architecture
  • Reactive architecture
  • Agile solutions
  • Cloud architecture
  • Coexistence of business and tech
  • DevOps
  • Continuous architecture
  • Resilience

Scale – You’ve created a great web interface that is well designed, secure, and works well in a beta with 100 consumers, but how about 10,000, 1,000,000, or more. How do you take a great project to the masses? What if sometimes you need computing power for 1,000,000 interactions while at other times you need to accommodate only 100. What in the world do you do with the data to make it useful and what is the right aaS solution for you. OSCON 2015 will help you create stable projects and figure out the right choices for your particular needs.

Proposals could include such topics as:

  • User data scale
  • Science data scale
  • Big data
  • Scales of users
  • Docker as containers (security, isolation, devops, agile)
  • Hadoop
  • Going beyond MapReduce
  • NoSQL solutions
  • Parallelism
  • Cloud all of the things
  • All things in the cloud
  • IaaS, PaaS, SaaS

Storage – Collecting, distributing, and processing data is great, but sometimes you need to persist it for a while. The open source world offers a dazzling array of choices, from basic flat files (CSV is enjoying a resurgence!) to many varieties of relational, graph, and hierarchical models operating at every scale. OSCON 2015 will help you find your way among the choices and optimize your systems for stability, distribution, convenience, and performance.

Proposals could include such topics as:

  • Storage on premises? Locally on devices? In the cloud?
  • Data persistence
  • NoSQL
  • Flat files
  • CSV lives again
  • SQLite

Teaching – You want to build a great team, or fill the world with developers and managers who share your values and know your tools. How do you explain how your projects and tools improve the world? What should software mastery look like? OSCON 2015 will help find the best way to share your knowledge and build a successful team.

Proposals could include such topics as:

  • Wayposts for beginners
  • Finding an audience
  • Teaching by example
  • How projects get approved in almost any org

Design is critical for success. You could have the greatest code running a site or a device that could change the world but if it isn’t designed for ease of use and gives the user feedback in a timely manner then your DOA. OSCON 2015 will look at how to incorporate design best practices from the beginning of your project rather than an afterthought and take a look at the newest trends in the design world.

Proposals could include such topics as:

  • UX
  • UI
  • Hardware
  • Interface Design
  • Industrial Design

Solve – Harness the power of math to manipulate, secure, and create data. With math, you can figure out who wants to use your app, find the right neighborhood for your next shop, or where you should have your taxi service in order to pick up the droves of customers going home for the night. OSCON 2015 will give you insight into how to use math, adapt algorithms, and optimize for usage.

Proposals could include such topics as:

  • Languages specific to math, science
  • Algorithmic libraries
  • Development of new hashing functions (math for security)
  • Development of replacement of Map Reduce at Google (tactics, math)
  • Algorithms for cost efficiency (reduce service truck road miles)
  • Time-to-customer and optimal path for startups like real-time meal delivery

Data is literally everywhere you look and our devices and computer are working with bigger and more diverse sets of data than ever before. How do you manage this deluge? OSCON 2015 will tackle big data’s continued and growing influence over the entire business world and how you can make it work for you.

Proposals could include such topics as:

  • Data at rest
  • Data security
  • Too big to move (sneakernet for massive data center servers)
  • Data encryption
  • Data in marketing

Foundations – A strong foundation in computational thinking, problem solving, and programming best practices makes for a successful programmer. Whether you are new to programming or want to brush up on the fundamentals again this track will have something for you. OSCON 2015 will ground new and experienced programmer in theory and best practices giving attendees the power to optimize, manipulate, and innovate in their next project.

  • Programming best practices
  • What math do programmers need to know
  • Computational Thinking
  • Best First Language to Learn
  • OO vs. Functional
  • Coding within a team

You’ll be asked to include the following information for your proposal:

  • Proposed title
  • Overview and extended descriptions of the presentation: main idea, sub topics, conclusion
  • Suggested track
  • Prerequisites
    • Speaker(s): expertise, biography, and high-res headshot
    • Suggested tags

Proposals will be considered for the following types of presentations:

  • 3-hour tutorials
  • 40-minute presentations, discussions, or panels

Some tips for writing a good proposal for a good talk:

  • Help us understand why your presentation is the right one for OSCON.
  • Keep the audience in mind: they’re technical, professional, and already pretty smart. They will easily detect a marketing pitch.
  • Clearly identify the level of the talk and why people will want to attend: is it for beginners to the topic, or for gurus? Is this a trending topic, or an installation tutorial?
  • Give it a simple and straightforward title or name: fancy and clever titles or descriptions make it harder for people (committee and attendees) to figure out what you’re really talking about.
  • Limit the scope of the talk: in 40 minutes, expect to pick a useful aspect of a topic; a particular technique; or walk through a simple program.
  • Be bold and creative in your exploration of a topic. Audience members enjoy stories about what went wrong, what went right, how you selected a technology, and the human dynamics of applying a certain piece of software.
  • Pages of code are unreadable: mere mortals can deal with code a line at a time.
  • Be authentic. Your peers need original presentation ideas that focus real-world scenarios, relevant examples, and knowledge transfer.
  • If you are proposing a panel, tell us who else would be on it.
  • Include people we don’t see often enough at tech conferences: Does your presentation have the participation of a woman, person of color, or member of another group often underrepresented at tech conferences? Diversity is one of the factors we seriously consider when reviewing proposals as we seek to broaden our speaker roster.
  • Above all else, present something relevant. One of your challenges as a proposer is to demonstrate that you understand attendees might need an extra reason to pay attention to something that they might otherwise think of as “settled.”

Other resources to help write your proposals:

Important Dates

  • Call for Participation Closes – February 2, 2015
  • All proposers notified – March 2015
  • Program Announced and Registration Opens – March 2015

Code of Conduct

We expect all participants, including speakers, to support our Code of Conduct, the core of which is this: an O’Reilly conference should be a safe and productive environment for everyone. Read more »

Create your proposal now