Local conferences worth checking out

As spring approaches so too, it seems, do the conferences. There are a few of them taking place nearby that I think are worth going to, unfortunately nearly all of them will take place at almost exactly the same time. Decisions… decisions… decisions.

ALT.NET Seattle

I think that, by far, the most important conference around for software developers doing any sort of .NET work is the ALT.NET Seattle Open Space. Last year was an amazing experience for me and I’m sure this year will be too.

Unfortunately Redmond is over 3 hours away and my wife is due around then. In the end that event is way more important than even the greatest .NET unconference of the year. However for those of you who don’t have a pregnant wife giving birth around that time, you don’t want to miss this.

Agile Vancouver Lean Startup Miniconf

Lean Startup, it’s the biggest thing since… well Lean I guess. Seriously though, the concepts and ideas behind the Lean Startup movement are extremely interesting an worth getting to know more about. Agile Vancouver does some great talks, and puts on one of the regions best yearly conference. I have no doubt their first Lean Startup conference will be great.

Make Web Not War

This free conference is in it’s 3rd year and is coming to Vancouver for the first time. A Microsoft sponsored event for the web development community that also promoted open source web platforms. This should be an interesting event to see, as the terms “cross-platform”, “open source” and “Microsoft” are not often thought of together.

It’s somewhat obvious (to me at least) that more than a little of Microsoft’s motivation to sponsor this event is to promote that they support PHP and other typically LAMP-ish web platforms running under IIS, Azure and via their relatively new Web Platform Installer.

Over the past little while Microsoft has certainly improved their support for open-source web development platforms running on IIS, and their support of open source in general. IronRuby/Python have been big steps in a new direction and Codeplex (even though I still prefer Github) has done a pretty good job promoting more .NET open source.

It’s important for Microsoft to emphasize the importance of open platforms, open technologies and open source, however, my concern is that too much emphasis will be placed on Microsoft as a place to run popular open-source platforms and not enough on open-source itself, and that would be unfortunate.

I think it’s great that Microsoft is sponsoring an event like this to showcase their support of open source, but it’s important that they make sure the core message remains clear. By that I mean, the message can’t be: “Look at what you can run on Windows.” No, it needs to be more like: “Look at all the great things open source development has done and continues to do for the web. Microsoft want’s to help encourage and promote more of this.”

Microsoft is clearly making more and more of an effort to reach out to the open source community and I think that is something we in the open source community should recognize and support in return if we want to continue to see more of it. Going out and attending Web Not War is one way to show your support for Microsoft’s support of open source, and hey, it’s free!

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