Making Open Work
May 8–9, 2017: Training & Tutorials
May 10–11, 2017: Conference
Austin, TX

Call for Speakers

Call closed 11:59pm 10/25/2016 CDT.

OSCON celebrates, explains, and demonstrates the power of open source technologies from the inception of languages and frameworks up through their use in the enterprise. We invite you to join us as we bring together a large community of contributors, learners, and users.

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. Share with us WHO you are, WHY you’re excited about open source, and WHY we should get excited about seeing you speak!

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

  • 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
  • Documentation Writers
  • Software Testers and QA


We made a lot of changes to OSCON in 2016 and are not going to sit on our laurels in 2017! We want to continue to evolve and listen to our audience so this year you are going to see three new topics—The Cutting Edge, Smart Cities, and Adopt This Now. Join us as we strive to keep pace with an industry that moves quickly by constructing an event that makes sense of the most important trends and technology for the open source community. Check out the topics we want to cover this year with your help!

Be sure to consider how best to get your information across to your audience. If you are introducing attendees to a new language you may want a straightforward instructional style though keep in mind that case studies, personal stories, interaction with the audience, show and tell, or live coding may be the way to keep the audience captivated and digest the new material.

Open Source: From Consumer to Contributor
It’s easy to use open source, many people do it without even realizing. But the true power of open source comes from collaboration and contribution. Giving back to the open source community can be done in more ways than just code. Giving of yourself, your time, your testing, your documentation, your encouragement, and perhaps your code, are all ways you can contribute directly to the world of open source. How do we build an open, inclusive, diverse, and welcoming community? How do we grow open source contributions by converting consumers into empowered contributors?

The Business of Open Source: From Project to Product
Many successful businesses are built on strong open source projects. Part of the secret lies in creating something useful and building a community around it. But how do you go from free software to paid product without destroying your community? How do you balance open collaboration with a commercial product roadmap? How do you maintain transparency throughout the entire process?

The realm of what a developer (or operations person) is responsible for and can impact in the lifetime of an application has been utterly changed forever by the advent of DevOps. Long gone is the idea of developing a project and throwing it over the wall at the operations team. Now it is all about continuous integration, how best to use the cloud, version control on GitHub, and testing from the beginning. And, to no surprise a whole new ecosystem of tools has come along to help with this new world. Docker anyone? What tools are you using? How have you or your team made the change? Is the architecture you work within a help or a hinderance?

In Real Life (IRL)
Hearing about how a company or team has succeeded with a new initiative, implemented a new language, or reconfigured their architecture is fascinating—so is listening in on the failures. Both success and failure have a lot to teach us. As individuals we have a limit to how many of those we can complete in one year so this track is about sharing war stories and life on the front lines. Help the person beside you and tell your story. All proposals here should be in the form of real-life stories. How did you go from a monolith to microservices? Now that you’ve migrated to microservices, how do you manage them in production? How did they hack your system?

Adopt This Now
These technologies and techniques are hitting the mainstream now! You are starting to see them in your daily work life and, in fact, are making that life better. Everything in this track is ready to be used in your project today. What new languages are making your software sing? Which frameworks scale best? What new strategies are you using to work with teams?

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. What do you protect? What frameworks and libraries are working for you? How do you test the strength of your security? How do you fix it when it doesn’t do the job? How do we deal with identity and privacy? How open should we be?

So you’ve shipped the first version of your product and it’s a resounding success! As you scale from 0 to 1000s of users, you start to notice things fall over just as you hit deep sleep and the pager goes off. Building applications and infrastructure for performance is the difference between a good project and a great product. Performance tuning has become a bit of a lost art, mainly due to the every growing layers of abstractions provided by our web frameworks, database ORMs, and standard libraries. How did you hack the framework for performance? What tools did you use to squeeze every ounce of performance from your stack? What should aspiring developers know about performance and how to increase it?

Collaboration and Community
We have frameworks and languages for creating software projects, but successful projects require communicating with people, and a growing community of users and contributors as well as software. Making projects work requires communications, collaboration, and respect, inside teams, among teams, and often across organizations and the broader world. How do you navigate the politics of your company? Of a larger open source community? What are the best practices for collaborating across the world? Across the office?

The importance of leadership and management can not be overestimated in businesses, both big and small. Incorporating these skills into an already technically diversified skill set creates the powerful professionals we need in open source and computing. Leaders that understand technology and entrepreneurship have a strategic advantage in an ever-crowded marketplace. How do you infuse your startup with the culture so that it blooms into an enterprise business before the cash runs out? How do you create a team of professionals that grow with the company? How do you communicate and execute your vision?

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. Software architecture plays a key role in the success of any organization. How do you figure out the right way forward? Do you start from scratch? How do you migrate to microservices? Should you? What else is out there besides microservices?

The Cutting Edge
Open source software development breaks down barriers, allowing projects to blossom with the brainpower of an entire community rather than a small, isolated team. Recently, open source paved the way for the sea change that containers has brought with Docker, Kubernetes, and Mesos. OpenAI has spawned a resurgence in energy around artificial intelligence. But, what’s next? Are you working on a little known project that could have a big impact? Where can open source enable a renaissance? The financial community? Shipping? Health care?

Data, Big and Small
Data is literally everywhere you look and our devices and computers are working with bigger and more diverse sets of data than ever before. How do you manage this deluge? How do you tackle big data’s continued and growing influence over the entire business world? How you can make it work for you? How do you show others what you’ve collected in a way that is digestible?

From Crumbling to Smart Cities
Innovation is happening all around us, literally—it has taken to the streets via autonomous cars and is on our wrists with updates sent to us from local city applications telling us about train schedules and traffic jams. Sensor networks offer new ways to monitor water and its infrastructure, smart materials withstand harsh weather, and smart planning offers data-driven city layout. Where is open source making a difference here? What cities are beacons of change? How has Google Fiber impacted metropolises?

Required information

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

  • Proposed title
  • Description of the presentation
  • Suggested main topic
  • Audience information: who the presentation is for
  • For tutorial proposals: hardware installation, materials, and/or downloads attendees will need in advance
  • Speaker(s): biography and hi-res headshot (minimum 1400 pixels wide; required)
  • Prerequisite knowledge and/or requirements needed by attendees
  • A video of the speaker
  • Reimbursement needs for travel or other conference-related expenses (if you are self-employed, for example)

Proposals will be considered for the following types of presentations:

  • 40-minute session
  • 3-hour tutorial

Forty-minute sessions are for introducing a new concept, a best practice, or view into the future. We’re also looking for intense 3-hour tutorials that involve hands-on examples, working with other attendees, and frameworks and processes.

Tips for submitting a successful proposal

Help us understand why your presentation is the right one for OSCON. Please keep in mind that this event is by and for professionals. All presentations and supporting materials must be respectful, inclusive, and adhere to our Code of Conduct.

  • Pick the right topic for your talk to be sure it gets in front of the right program committee members.
  • Be authentic. Your peers need original ideas in real-world scenarios, relevant examples, and knowledge transfer.
  • Give your proposal a simple and straightforward title.
  • Include as much detail about the presentation as possible.
  • If you are proposing a panel, tell us who else would be on it.
  • Keep proposals free of marketing and sales.
  • If you are not the speaker, provide the contact information of the person you’re suggesting. We tend to ignore proposals submitted by PR agencies and require that we can reach the suggested participant directly. Improve the proposal’s chances of being accepted by working closely with the presenter(s) to write a jargon-free proposal that contains clear value for attendees.
  • Keep the audience in mind: they’re professional, and already pretty smart.
  • Limit the scope: in 40 minutes, you won’t be able to cover Everything about Framework X. Instead, pick a useful aspect, or a particular technique, or walk through a simple program.
  • Explain why people will want to attend and what they’ll take away from it.
  • Don’t assume that your company’s name buys you credibility. If you’re talking about something important that you have specific knowledge of because of what your company does, spell that out in the description.
  • 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.

Other resources to help write your proposals:

Important Dates:

  • Call for Participation closes: October 25, 2016
  • Proposers notified: By December 2016
  • Registration opens: December 2016

Code of Conduct

All participants, including speakers, must follow 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