Keynote Speakers Announced for Great Wide Open 2016

The team at Great Wide Open is extremely proud to announce keynote speakers for this year’s conference. Each speaker selected is known on a world-wide scale and has made multiple contributions to open source, the community, and to technology in general over the course of years and continues to do so.

Keynote talks will take place on the main stage on the morning of Wednesday, March 16 at the Georgia Tech Conference Center in downtown Atlanta.

Kelsey Hightower, Developer Advocate at Google Cloud Platform

Kelsey Hightower has worn every hat possible throughout his career in tech, and enjoys leadership roles focused on making things happen and shipping software. Kelsey is a strong open source advocate focused on building simple tools that make people smile. When he is not slinging Go code, you can catch him giving technical workshops covering everything from programming and system administration, to his favorite Linux distro of the month.

Danese Cooper, Distinguished Member at Paypal, Past CTO at Wikimedia Foundation

Danese Cooper has a long history of successfully combining work in social justice and digital inclusion with leading open source advocacy at some of the largest global technology companies. She joined PayPal as a distinguished member, technical staff-open source as of February 2014. She also runs DaneseWorks, an open source consultancy whose clients have included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Numenta, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia, AutoDesk, and if(we) Inc. Prior to founding DaneseWorks she was CTO of the Wikimedia Foundation (home of Wikipedia). Since 1999, Danese has been involved in developing and evangelizing the open source movement and its attached methodologies, including release of some very key open source projects while at Sun Microsystems, such as Apache Tomcat,,,,, GlassFish, and OpenSolaris. At Intel she worked on projects designed to bridge the digital divide, and fed a growing interest/participation in the social software movement. Prior to the dawn of open source, Danese enjoyed a long career at proprietary companies including Apple, Microsoft, and Symantec. She is also co-editor of the book Open Sources v2.0, and is a reviewing editor of The Art of Community and Getting Started With InnerSource, all from O’Reilly Media.

Brandon Phillips, CTO at CoreOS

Brandon Philips is helping to build modern Linux server infrastructure at CoreOS as CTO. Prior to CoreOS, he worked at Rackspace hacking on cloud monitoring and was a Linux kernel developer at SUSE. As a graduate of Oregon State’s Open Source Lab he is passionate about open source technologies. Brandon is a keynote speaker around the world at numerous technology conferences on the importance of open source and open technology.

Christian Heilmann – Senior Program Manager – Microsoft

Chris Heilmann has dedicated a lot of his time making the web better. Originally coming from a radio journalism background, he built his first web site from scratch around 1997 and spent the following years working on lots of large, international web sites. He then spent a few years in Yahoo building products and explaining and training people including Yahoo Answers, Search, Local and Maps. He then worked at Mozilla moving HTML5 support forward and advocating Firefox OS as an open alternative to closed mobile systems. Chris wrote two and contributed to eight books on web development and wrote many articles and hundreds of blog posts for Ajaxian, Smashing Magazine, Yahoo, Mozilla, ScriptJunkie and many more. He also wrote the Developer Evangelism Handbook in use in many companies to coach evangelists.