State of Open Con 24: Top 5 Takeaways

21st February 2024 | Alexander Blanchard

State of Open Con 24 was the second annual State of Open conference hosted by Amanda Brock and the OpenUK team. Featuring talks on a diverse range of topics from Open Source contributors from across the globe and sponsored by some of the ‘big names’ in tech, this conference highlighted the energy and passion within all levels of the Open Source community. Here are 5 top takeaways from the event.

1. The Open Source Community Needs Everybody

You could be forgiven for assuming that the CEO of OpenUK would be a software engineer. In fact, the CEO, Amanda Brock, is a lawyer. Across OpenUK’s board and leadership team, there are lawyers, project managers, marketing professionals, researchers and recruitment and sustainability professionals. The diversity and passion they bring reflects the beauty of the Open Source community.

2. The UK is Leading the Way

OpenUK states that their purpose is to ‘Develop UK leadership and Global Collaboration in Open Technology.’ This certainly seems to be working. The conference boasted speakers and delegates from around the world, with a particularly high number of participants from Europe and the USA.
While the UK may be relatively small, its contribution to the tech world is not. The UK ranks as number 1 in Europe and within the top 5 worldwide in terms of AI contributions on GitHub.

3. Accessibility, Accessibility, Accessibility

This point goes hand in hand with point number one. The Open Source Community is diverse, but can everybody contribute? Oluebube Princess Egbuna, part of the team at Spectro Cloud, delivered a passionate speech that opened with the shocking statistic that 1 in every 200 developers is blind. She urged listeners to commit to providing welcoming codebases. Top tips include:

  • Memorable – folders, files, functions and variables should be memorably and contextually named.
  • Comments – use comments to give context to your changes.
  • Context – commit messages should be contextual, making it clear what this commit has added or fixed. Conventional commits are great for this purpose.
  • Size – a pull request with 100 files changed could be overwhelming. Keep pull requests fairly small and give context to the changes made to the codebase by including pull request messages.

4. Sustainability is Key

Across all industries, sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue and the world of tech is no exception. From the CO2 emissions caused by servers to the current trend of ‘fast fashion for phones,’ people are becoming more aware of the effect technology is having on our environment. Oliver Cronk, from Scott Logic, unveiled the (proposed) Technology Carbon Standard, which aims to provide a standardised method for companies to map, measure and mitigate the environmental impacts of their technology. Oliver also referenced a previous talk, ‘Sustainable Software (and Software for Sustainability)’, which is definitely worth listening to.

5. Open Source and Community Standards

The Foundation for Public Code has constructed 16 Reasonable Headers organisations should adhere to in order to meet the Standard for Public Code.
Far from controlling the community, the foundation believes stewardship is the key to safeguarding the public investment in open source and collaboration. By ensuring open source projects are of high quality, trusted and collaborative, the foundation believes long-term, sustainable implementation can be achieved.


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