Posted on by Sara

Categories: blog and conferences

Imagine one weekend full of Open Source and then imagine spending it with the most amazing people ever! Add some imaginary electric atmosphere and that’s how we felt about being at the first Ruby Open Source (ROSS) Conference in Vienna. On the weekend of the 25th and 26th of April, some of us from the RGSOC Core Orga team attended this Conference which consisted of a mix of tech-talks in the morning and a hands-on, energetic hackathon session in the afternoon – allowing for some very special interaction between speakers and attendees. With an excellent line up of Open Source Software maintainers and contributors (two of them being potential mentors for our 2015 edition of RGSoC), there was no shortage of inspiration and energy.

copyright Manuel Gruber

Posted by ROSSConf Vienna on Monday, 27 April 2015

Also @railsgirlssoc is worked on at #rossconf

A photo posted by Floor Drees (@floordrees) on

Laura, Anika and I got to meet up and even managed to smuggle in some RGSoC work , which we tackled together, as well as participate in the Hackathon. As a vast majority of our coaches, supervisors, mentors and orga team members are remote from one another, having a chance to meet face-to-face feels truly special. We also met and work with these potential RGSoC mentors, namely Katrina Owen of Exercism.io, and Lisa Passing of Diaspora*.

Katrina Owen, among other things, is the maintainer of Exercism.io which is a platform where you can get feedback on your coding exercises. Katrina started this when working with students who would never complete their warm up exercises at college. She figured out that without the potential of getting feedback, there was no real incentive to completing their coding exercises. Exercism received 30 pull requests during the weekend, which goes to show just how much interest there is in keeping it flourishing.

copyright Manuel Gruber

Posted by ROSSConf Vienna on Monday, 27 April 2015

Lisa Passing (RGSoC mentor, coach, supervisor, and developer - yes she is THIS awesome), presented Diaspora*, and the many challenges of maintaining the world’s biggest open source, distributed Social Network . With all issues being decided democratically, maintaining a project with such a diverse user base can be extremely complex. But it’s all worth it - since it’s such an amazing communtiy and a wonderful alternative to ehem some other big social network.

copyright Manuel Gruber

Posted by ROSSConf Vienna on Monday, 27 April 2015

We also met with friends and long time supporters of Rails Girls and Rails Girls Summer of Code; Michal Papis (of RVM), Piotr Szotkowski (of Reek, and RGSoC coach), and Arne Brasseur (of Yaks, formely a supervisor and core organiser).

Events like this reminded us again just how important Open Source Software is to developers and non-developers alike and how many great projects there are which you can support. Even huge projects like RVM need a diverse set of skills to help maintainers continue their amazing work in providing software that everyone can use.

Our heartfelt thanks go to Floor, Aaron and the entire organisational team who made ROSSConf happen and had the vision to put something like this on. It is no easy feat being a community organiser, and they deserve so many hugs for taking the time to create events.

Oh, and did we mention that the conference was completely free? That’s right, free, thanks to the excellent sponsors who covered the costs, and to Sektor5 for offering to host the event free of charge.

If you’re reading this thinking, “But I can’t contribute to open source as a designer/content writer/lion tamer”, take a look at a few of these resources. It can’t be said enough that we need more than code to make awesome open source projects and most projects need those writing/designing contributions badly!

The first edition of ROSS Conf may be over, but you can follow their social channels for updates on future events. Rumor has it there might be a ROSSConf in a big german city this year still. But psssshhhht. We’ll keep you posted.