Historically, the computer industry has been impressed with big things. In the early decades, the mainframes and supercomputers were all the rage. Even as the technology began to shrink, big rollouts supplanted the big machines. And now you can find powerful technology which easily fits in the palm of your hand -- but you've probably only heard of the brands which sell in huge numbers.
This industry likes big things. But sometimes the greatest value comes from the smallest things. That can certainly be said of Open Source conferences.
Good Things Really Do Come in Small Packages
I've spoken at several dozen Open Source conferences over the years. I remember when LinuxWorld Conference and Expo was all the rage a decade ago. It had thousands of attendees, gigantic booths, a huge amount of swag, and plenty of press coverage. With all its lights and noise, that conference was something to behold.
But I don't find myself wishing I could revisit those days. Instead, I find myself enjoying the smaller, community-driven, regional conferences. These conferences aren't large, aren't noisy, and don't come with mountains of swag to take home, but they provide attendees with something much more valuable: the equipment to succeed.
It varies from conference to conference, but most of these local conferences include two very important elements: excellent information and local networking.