Group Discounts Now Available

We’re really pleased to announce group rates are now available for Great Wide Open 2016. If you plan to register 5 or more people for the event, please contact us for a group/bulk discount code.

As you can tell by the ‘normal’ price point of the conference, we deeply care about access and would like as many people to attend as possible. Although extremely fair, the discount should help companies send multiple associates, not just one or two that will have to explain content to the rest of the team.

This discount is not just limited to companies, but any organization, like user groups, start-ups, education, etc. We want to make sure everyone that wants to come has a chance.

If interested, please send us an email to and please include “GWO Group Discount” in the subject line. We’ll forward a discount code to use right away.

We hope many people will take advantage of this tremendous offer.

See you March 16th and 17th in downtown Atlanta!

Final Round of Speakers Includes Huge Names

The final round of speakers at Great Wide Open 2016 includes a multitude of well known experts from throughout the country. They specialize in many areas and each is truly excellent.

If attendees use open source or open technology, or will in the future, they will not be disappointed, guaranteed.

  • Bill Kayser – Distinguished Engineer, New Relic. Bill works on hard data capture and visualization problems and has been working in the software engineering and performance management space for several decades.
  • Hans Buwalda – CTO at LogiGear. He was a pioneer of the keyword approach to testing and automation, now widely used throughout the industry. He is a frequent speaker and is lead author of Integrated Test Design and Automation.
  • Mark Hinkle – Marketing Director, Linux Foundation. Mark is one of the foremost open source experts in the world and has led OSS efforts for major corporations and projects around the world, including Apache CloudStack, Citrix, Gluster,, Zenoos, and many others.
  • Susan Wu – Director of Technical Marketing, Midokura. Susan has led product positions at Oracle/Sun, Citrix, AMD and Docker. She’s a frequent speaker at industry conferences like OSCON, All Things Open, and many others. She’s been honored in GetoIPs “Top 25 Most Influential Women in Cloud” as well as by the Cloud Network of Women (CloudNOW).
  • Bermon Painter – Bermon leads user experience for Cardinal Solutions in Charlotte, Raleigh and Tampa. He’s an organizer of various community groups for user experience designers and front-end developers. He’s also the father of the Sass logo.
  • John Hammink – Developer Evangelist, Treasure Data. John is co-ordinator for both San Jose and San Francisco Analytics Club, has written and spoken at dozens of meetups from topics ranging from the most basic technological stacks (Fluentd for logging, Docker, Python and Ruby for Data Collection, and Introductory Data Science) to keynotes all around the world.
  • Max Mether – Co–founder of MariaDB. As a co-founder Max helps advance the MySQL and MariaDB eco-systems around the world. He’s a frequent conference speaker all over the globe.
  • Kylie Stradley – Web Developer, Mailchimp. Kylie is a co-organizer for Atlanta Rails Girls, and can be found TAing Girl Develop It Classes, co-organizing RailsBridge Atlanta Workshops, or helping facilitate Code Retreats in Atlanta.
  • Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols – Contributing Editor, CBS/ZDNet & Columnist, ComputerWorld. Steven is one of the most widely read columnists in all of open source technology.
  • Tom Wilson – CEO, Jack Russell Software. Tom is a polyglot programmer and long-time technology expert and leader. He has been a recognized leader in the Charleston, SC technology community for more than a decade.
  • Karen Vuong – Principal Community Marketing Manager, Pivotal. Karen serves in a large number of community roles, including Organizer of the Pivotal Open Source Hub meetup group, an Apache CloudStack Project Management Committee member and Committer. She founded the CloudStack Silicon Valley User Group (1,200 members) back in 2013.
  • Sophia Voychehovski – Founder and lead UXer of ReWired UX Studio. Sophia is very well known in the ATL UX community and leads multiple workshops, talks and panels.

New Speakers for Great Wide Open 2016!

With just over a month and a half to go before Great Wide Open 2016, we’re proud to officially announce new speakers confirmed to participate March 16 and 17.

This round is once again a combination of experts from both around the country and around the greater Atlanta area. The end result is a wide array of topics guaranteed to provide tremendous education.

  • Grant Ingersol – Founder/CTO, Lucidworks. Grant is the co-author of Taming Text, co-founder of Apache Mahout and is a long standing committer on the Apache Lucene and Solr open source projects.
  • Emily Dunham – Emily is a DevOps Engineer at Mozilla Research, which means shepherding servers for the Rust language and Servo browser engine web presence, continuous integration, and release infrastructure. She founded the DevOps Bootcamp sysadmin training program at Oregon State University and teaches open source skills at numerous conferences.
  • Shaunak Kashyap – Developer Advocate at Elastic, the makers of open-source projects Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana, and Beats. Shaunak has been working as a back-end developer for well over a decade.
  • Preston So – Development Manager of Acquia Labs at Acquia where he works on new open-source and product initiatives. Previously, Preston was Technical Lead of Entertainment Weekly at Time Inc. and co-founded the Southern Colorado Drupal User Group (est. 2008). Since 2008, Preston has spoken at conferences across the U.S. and on three continents.
  • Ian Philpot – A Senior Cloud & Development Evangelist at Microsoft specializing in Azure development. Ian has been involved with events such as 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, 2014 FIFA world Cup, and most recently the Super Bowl XLIX. He’s a Software Engineer with more than ten years of experience.
  • Ginny Ghezzo – Program Director, IBM. Ginny works with a worldwide team on a daily basis with a focus on improving the support of a suite of application lifecycle management tools including DOORS, Rhapsody and Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM). She is active in technology organizations including Code of America, Linux User Group and Python meet ups.
  • Rommel Garcia – Senior Solutions Engineer and Security SME GLobal Lead, Hortonworks. He is a nationally recognized speaker at Hadoop and big data conferences and regularly works with a range of everyone from fast-growing startups to Fortune 100 organizations.
  • Roman Shaposhnik – Open Source Director, Pivotal. Roman is a member of the Apache Software Foundation, committer on Apache Hadoop, founder of Apache Bigtop and, as of late, a man behind the Open Data Platform initiative curtain. He’s been involved in open source for more than a decade.
  • Joshi Sunil – Executive Architect, IBM. Joshi is a regular speaker at major conferences throughout the world on the topics of cloud, DevOps and transformation. He’s created complex hybrid solutions for large enterprises and has authored several IBM Redbooks, blogs and is also so-author of the IBM Cloud Computing Reference Architecture (CCRA).
  • Pamela Vickers – Software Development Manager, Mailchimp. Pamela is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing and is co-founder/co-organizer of Rails Girls Atlanta.
  • Don Schenck – Developer Advocate, Rackspace. Don serves as an OpenStack .Net Developer Advocate and regularly speaks at events all over the world.
  • Sergey Razin – Chief Technology Officer, SIOS Corp. Sergey is a noted authority in advanced analytics and machine learning. He pioneered the application of these technologies in the areas of IT security, media, and speech recognition.
  • Dustin Cote – Customer Operations Engineer, Cloudera. Dustin has a wealth of distributed computing experience with bot Cloudera and IBM.
  • Jim Salter – Chief Technology Officer, Openoid; Ars Technica author. Jim is the author of the Sanoid hyperconverged infrastructure project and he’s written articles for Ars Technica on everything from next-gen filesystems to NAS distributions.

Great Wide Open 2016 Press Release Now Available

For more information:

Technology Conference to Focus on Open Source, Open Tech and the Open Web
Corporate Open source usage now at 78%, doubled in last 5 years
Atlanta GA, January 11, 2016 – Great Wide Open, a technology conference focusing on open source, open tech, and the open web in the enterprise will take place at The Georgia Tech Conference Center and the new world-class tech hub The Garage on Wednesday, March 16 and Thursday, March 17.

Corporate open source use and participation is now at an all time high, has doubled in the last 5 years, and now dominates the technology and business landscape.

According to the annual Future of Open Source Survey:

  • Seventy-eight percent (78%) said their companies run part or all of its operations on OSS and 66 percent said their company creates software for customers built on open source.
  • Sixty-four percent (64%) of companies currently participate in open source projects – up from 50 percent in 2014 – and over the next 2-3 years, 88 percent are expected to increase contributions to open source projects.
  • Open source has become the default approach for software with more than 66 percent saying they consider OSS before other options.

The conference will feature keynote talks as well as 45 minute – one hour sessions on 10 tracks on March 16. March 17 will feature two-hour extended workshop type sessions to allow a deeper dive on each topic covered. Each day of the event will feature many of the top open technology experts in the world and many of the top technology companies throughout the U.S.

Tickets to the conference are available for purchase online at Early Bird prices of just $99 for both days of the event are available until January 24. Beginning on January 25 prices will increase leading up to the March 16 start date. Tickets include all programming, lunch, and networking socials.

For more information visit or email
About Great Wide Open:
Great Wide Open is a two-day conference focusing on open source, open tech, and the open web. It features some of the most well known experts in the country as well as many of the leading technology companies in the U.S. and the world.

Download the Great Wide Open 2016 Press Release

Second Round of Speakers Announced!

We’re extremely pleased to announce the 2nd round of speakers at Great Wide Open 2016. They are a combination of national and local subject matter experts, and they are truly excellent. This round, when combined with the world-class initial round, means anyone attending will learn from some of the most well known experts in the country. The value is extraordinary.

Round two speakers include:

  • Michael Laing – Michael serves as a Systems Architect at The New York Times. He’s the creator of nytfabrik, a global messaging platform for breaking news and personalization.
  • Kirsten Hunter – API Evangelist at Akamai, Kirsten is an unapologetic hacker and passionate advocate for the developer community. Her book Irresistible APIs is scheduled for publication Summer of 2016
  • Peter Zaitsev – CEO, Percona. Peter is co-author of High Performance MySQL published by O’Reilly, one of the most popular books on MySQL performance. Percona was named to the Inc 5000 in 2013 and 2015.
  • Kevin Clark – Kevin serves as a Senior Product Designer at Shopify in Montreal, Canada. He’s led the redesign of the checkout process that is used by over 200,000 online stores, organizes the Montreal Dribble Meetup, and started Layout, a weekly podcast where he talks about design and technology in a thoughtful way.
  • Seth Vargo – Seth is a DevOps community and polyglot software engineer and open source advocate at HashiCorp. He is co-author of O’Reilly’s “Learning Chef” and is passionate about eliminating inequality in technology and organizational culture.
  • Mike Kivikoski – Is a designer and developer at Cantina. He has a video series with O’Reilly books, “UI Introduction fro Engineers”, and has spoken at Creative Mornings, Ignite, Refresh Boston, Harvard and Endicott College.
  • Kendra Skeene – Kendra serves as the Director of Product for GeorgiaGov Interactive. She oversees the state of Georgia’s enterprise Drupal platform and has managed a number of initiatives with the GeorgiaGov Interactive team.
  • Sean Cavanaugh – Sean serves as a Senior Consultant at Cumulus Networks, the leader in open networking and distributor of Cumulus Linux.
  • Matt Trask – Matt is a PHP Developer at Insight Global and serves as co-organizer of AtlantaPHP. He has a keen interest in “developing the developer”.
  • Gunnar Wagenknecht – Gunnar serves as Director of Engineering at Tasktop Technologies where he’s responsible for Tasktop’s Open Source Program and Engineering Effectiveness. Before Tasktop he lead the development and operation of a multi-tenant, worldwide e-commerce platform serving millions of transactions each day.
  • Jacklyn Burgan – Jacklyn is a user-experience researcher and strategist with NineLabs in Atlanta. She organizes the ATL chapter of Ladies that UX, conducts workshops, and participates in the Atlanta design community meetups.
  • Dave Stokes – Dave serves as MySQL Community Manager at Oracle. He’s been using MySQL for more than 15 years and has a wide background in open source software.
  • Andy Watson – Andy serves as Lead Developer at Ionic Security. He contributes to open source projects like Consul and Docker Machine.
  • Christopher Mancini – Christopher is a Software Engineer at Basho Technologies. He’s an open source contributor and is keenly interested in the transition of App Dev to Open Source Dev, a transition many will be making in the near future, or already have.
  • Jason Hibbets – Jason is a Senior Community Evangelist at Red Hat and serves as a Community Manager at He’s the author of the widely acclaimed book “The Foundation for an Open Source City”.
  • John Willis – An Evangelist at Docker Inc. John has more than 35 years experience in the IT management industry. He’s served as VP solutions for Socketplane (sold to Docker) and Enstratius (sold to Dell) and he’s served as VP of Training & Services at Opscode.

Who Should Attend Great Wide Open 2016?

If you’re considering attending the Great Wide Open conference, or perhaps have already made up your mind and just need to be sure this is for you, read on.

1. Nearly every type of technologist should attend the conference as multiple tracks will be featured. Specifically we think the following will find value:

  • UI/UX Specialists & Designers
  • Front-End Developers
  • Back-End Developers
  • DevOps professionals, and those wanting to learn more
  • Cloud specialists
  • Big Data specialists
  • Operations specialists (Engineers, Architects, Scientists, Database & System Administrators)
  • Security specialists, and those interested in security
  • Professors, students and those in the education space

2. Business executives and decision makers (CEO, CTO, CIO, managers)

The fact is, there are important business issues to consider when you or your team uses Open Source and open technology. Many times these are ignored, but GWO will offer a track dedicated to discussing those vital issues.

3. Those that are new to open source, open tech, and the open web

We fully understand many technologists, and other non-technologists, are new to the ‘open’ concept and require an introduction. Lucky for you, we’re offering a 101 track that will focus on basic topics at an introductory level.

4. Those that understand “community” is vital to your success

And by “those” we mean nearly everyone. Did you read our “Why Attend” post? If so, you noticed corporate open source use is at an all time high, and has DOUBLED in the last five years to 78%. If you’re in the 78% and use OS then you depend on COMMUNITY in a big way – either yours or someone else’s – and need that community to be productive and strong. We’re offering a Community track to tell you more about why that’s important and how you can make it happen.

Why Attend Great Wide Open 2016?

If you’re considering attending Great Wide Open 2016, we encourage you to read the information below. In addition, feel free to pass this along to your boss or supervisor that might need some persuading.

1. Open Source, open tech, and the open web dominate today’s technology and business landscape.

Corporate Open Source use and participation are now at an all time high, and has DOUBLED in the last 5 years. If you and/or your company don’t use or understand open source and open technology, it’s going to be at a competitive disadvantage, period.

According to the annual Future of Open Source Survey:

  • Seventy-eight percent (78%) said their companies run part or all of its operations on OSS and 66 percent said their company creates software for customers built on open source.
  • Sixty-four percent (64%) of companies currently participate in open source projects – up from 50 percent in 2014 – and over the next 2-3 years, 88 percent are expected to increase contributions to open source projects.
  • Open Source has become the default approach for software with more than 66 percent saying they consider OSS before other options.

2. Great Wide Open = educational opportunity

The focus of the conference is on EDUCATION. If you attend the event you are guaranteed to learn something you can implement and utilize in your place of work or even at home. Continuing education for technology professionals should be extremely important as what is being used, and what can be used, changes constantly.

3. The content is world-class

We work very hard to identify and cover the most important topics you need to know about and we regularly feature some of the top technologists in the world.

Wednesday, March 16 will feature 45 minute – 1 hour sessions on 10 tracks – the purpose is to provide an opportunity to learn a little about a lot. Attendees can gain knowledge about a variety of topics on just one track if they prefer to limit focus, or on multiple tracks.

Thursday, March 17 will feature 2.0 hour extended sessions/workshops. This is designed to give attendees an opportunity to learn a good bit more about fewer topics.

The tracks featured will include:

  • UI/UX/Design
  • Front-End Developer
  • Back-End Developer
  • DevOps
  • Cloud
  • Big Data
  • Business
  • Security
  • Community
  • 101
  • Operations

4. The networking is excellent

We feel it is incredibly important to meet thought leaders and other practitioners in the open technology field. Not only is it a great opportunity to share ideas and have some much needed fun, but it does something more important – it improves your technology/industry IQ, which in turn makes you more knowledgeable, interesting, and ultimately more valuable to your team and employer.

5. The value and ROI are tremendous

To keep it short and sweet, we challenge you to find a better value anywhere in the technology education/conference industry. Early Bird registration, opening on January 11, costs just $99 for both days of the conference, and includes lunch, all programming, and socials. That means 10 tracks of world-class content on Wednesday and additional world-class workshops on Thursday for just $99!! However, please be aware the cost increases when 150 tickets are sold, or by January 25. If you don’t register in time for Early Bird, no worries – the increased cost will still be an incredible value. Our goal is to make it possible for companies and organizations to bring a TEAM, not just send the lucky person who happens to draw the long straw.

Why No Great Wide Open in 2015?

We’ve been asked this question a good number of times and we’d like to take this opportunity to answer and explain. We’ve built a lot of trust with people that attend our events and always want to do the very best job possible. This includes keeping people informed.

In short, we were never able to nail down a location and date due to scheduling conflicts. When doing an event there are many variables, but two of the most important ones initially are where the event will be held (location) and when it will take place (the date).

Because we thought we had the details confirmed a couple of times, and because a lot of advanced notice is required to allow people to plan effectively we announced the conference thinking we were ready to go. However, we were never able to finalize the details. Although it might seem counterintuitive, cool meeting space in the downtown Atlanta area that is affordable and available is surprisingly limited. As a result, demand is very high and competitive for what is available. While some of the difficulty can be attributed to the fact that we are very discriminating when it comes to location we find this to be the case pretty much across the board in the area.

So, the reason for there being no GWO in 2015 is not something cool like we were off testing the latest rocket for Tesla, it’s the much less sexy reality of scheduling/availability conflicts. We wish we could claim the rocket testing justification, but we honestly can’t.

The 2016 event has been confirmed – we’ve got the signed paperwork to prove it – and we sincerely hope the community will welcome us back for a great event. We look forward to the opportunity.

Great Wide Open Conference To Focus on Women in Technology and Open Source

Some of the top female technologists and decision makers in the world will participate in a panel discussion on Thursday, October 23 at the second annual Great Wide Open conference.  The session is being made possible by Adobe and

The session, moderated by DeLisa Alexander, executive vice president and chief people officer at Red Hat, will address questions such as why the underrepresentation exists, why it’s important that more females choose to go into technology and open source, and what can be done to encourage it.

Featured panel members will include:

  • Estelle Weyl – Internationally published author, trainer and speaker. As a UI Engineer she’s consulted on projects with some of the largest companies in the U.S. like Samsung, Yahoo! and Apple.

  • Karen Sandler – Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, the nonprofit home of dozens of free software projects. She was previously the Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation. In partnership with the GNOME Foundation, Karen co-organizes the award winning Outreach Program for Women.

  • Elizabeth Joseph – Automation and Tools Engineer with Hewlett Packard working on the OpenStack Infrastructure team.  She is also a member of the Ubuntu Community Council and co-author of the 8th edition of The Official Ubuntu Book.

  • Erica Stanley – Founder of Acire Studios and co-founder of Women Who Code Atlanta network where she organizes monthly tech talks, workshops, hack nights and networking events for women.

  • Dr. Megan Squire – Associate Professor of Computing Sciences at Elon University.  She teaches data mining, web development, and database design and development and is the co-founder and current leader of the FLOSSmole, FLOSShub, and FLOSSdata projects.

Zimbra’s Olivier Thierry Talks Open Source, Government and Email at ATO 2014

We’re extremely excited to host Olivier Thierry, Zimbra‘s Chief Marketing Officer, at Great Wide Open 2014.  His presentation, “Why Governments Depend on Open Source for Secure, Private Email” was of such interest to us we asked him to give us a preview.  He kindly agreed and answered three questions, which are included below.  Olivier speaks on Wednesday, October 22 at 2:15 pm EST on the Open Government/Open Data track.

Tell us a little about yourself – where are you from and what do you do at Zimbra?

Originally, I am from Montreal, but now call Houston, Texas home. I have enjoyed a career spanning numerous companies in the technology space, and all of my recent positions have been as a marketing executive. Drawing on multiple aspects of my 30-plus years of experience, I have grown to love helping sales and product teams establish and grow unique brands.

For you personally, why open source and/or the open methodology/approach?

I believe commercially-backed open source provides improvements in three areas when compared to proprietary software: security, privacy and openness.

Security and privacy are among the most misunderstood aspects of open source projects, and many people think open source is insecure. As Linus’ Law described by Eric Raymond addresses, however, “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” Put another way, bugs are quickly fixed and their efficacy verified in the open source community. Collaboration between commercial backers and thebroader community ensures the integrity of security and privacy.

Openness is an important component of open source’s success, providing transparency and driving vibrant, collaborative developer communities:

  • Accountability and trust are beneficial emergent properties of openness. For example, third parties can easily audit code for bugs or verify the efficacy of a vulnerability fix, and ensure both the intended fix is in place and a new issue isn’t created.
  • Innovation is driven by the open nature of open source and it provides unique industries and businesses the ability to customize and extend platforms to best meet their specific needs. Compliance is a great example – to maintain HIPAA compliance, some healthcare organizations integrate workflow solutions into collaboration suites and overlay data encryption or two-factor authentication modules.

Your talk topic, “Why governments depend on open source for secure, private email,” looks fascinating to us. Why this topic and why should our attendees care?

Open source acceptance is increasing, including in government agencies; recently, the GSA established an open source-first policy. Email is the number one file sharing modality for government and business use alike, making security a priority for confidential and sensitive materials. I believe the same three reasons for implementing open source in general apply to the government.

Government organizations run on restricted budgets, and security is a constant concern. And, just like corporations, governments need privacy-enabling software. Whether employee data, citizens’ personally identifiable information or information subject to espionage (government, corporate or economic, data privacy is requisite for governments to function. Reliance on open source projects helps governments reduce expenditures on high-cost proprietary software and improve bug or vulnerability remediation timelines.

An example and area of intense interest is including collaboration and social technology integrations in daily workflows in a secure, private manner. Imagine user-friendly, secure file sharing that enables private attachments, data security and fine-grained access control in only a few mouse clicks. Also, this provides the Information Security and Information Technology teams (IS/IT) with control of data location, whether that is on-premise; in a hybrid, private or public cloud; or a combination. Between numerous software platforms and agencies, governments need interoperability. By exposing source code and application programming interfaces (APIs), agencies can bend software to their needs and not rely on vendors, which may have no commercial appetite for supporting the agency’s efforts.

Customization is also possible through similar means and is tremendously beneficial for agencies, especially those with niche needs. This ability to perform in-house software customization is less expensive and easier with open source than with proprietary software. This interoperability and customization can lead to a reduction of infrastructure and therefore complexity, all while delivering increased functionality, reducing costs and improving productivity and efficiency.

I saw recently that GitHub now has more than 10,000 active government users. This explosion of government users is birthing a vibrant open source community that will further open government and push the boundaries of innovation.