Bridging the Proprietary / FOSS Divide in Portland's Tech Community


Portland is teeming with geeks. Have a look at Calagator, any of the many Portland and Oregon Tech Event Google Calendars, the OTBC Meetup Calendar and prepare to be overwhelmed.

We have a ton of crazy tech collaboration happening — BarCamp is the most recent example of how easily geeks find community here in Portland. We have separate user groups dedicated to Ruby, PHP, Python, Perl, .NET and functional languages that meet every month. There’s the Linux Users Group, PostgreSQL Users Group, SQL Server Users Group, DorkBot, Portland Mobile, the new PDX Critique and tons more.

But there’s something wrong.

Open source groups seem to trade people and resources, presenting at each other’s groups, connecting at the many language-agnostic social events. But we rarely see the .NET people mingling at the open source-focused user groups. Why is that? What about other proprietary or commercial software systems developers? Oracle? Lotus Notes? Why don’t they join us?

Aaron Hockley, a .NET developer, and Selena Deckelmann, from the PostgreSQL and Perl communities, think this is a problem. Open Source and Proprietary communities have tons to learn from each other – like, why are there more women working on proprietary software than open source? And, what’s it going to take to get more proprietary software developers and companies to engage in their user communities the way that open source developers do?

Aaron and Selena won’t solve those problems. We’ll just show you to have fun together – despite software licensing differences.

There’s a great divide among the tech folks in Portland, and we’re going to bridge it. In 5 minutes.

Aaron Hockley / Selena Deckelmann


Aaron Hockley is a software developer who works primarily with Microsoft technologies including .NET and SQL Server. He is also a professional photographer and can’t resist that temptation to blog.

Selena Deckelmann is the PostgreSQL User Group Liaison, treasurer for PgUS, PDXPUG leader and occasional Perl Monger. She bikes herself to work everyday, and loves having fresh eggs from her chickens.