It was my great pleasure to attend POSSCON 2011 this year. I had the opportunity to do a keynote, a panel discussion, and a technical talk, wearing the hats of both developer as well as "FOSS expert." And that dual-hat nature defines the conference itself quite well. Imagine if OSCON and OSBC had a baby: its name would be POSSCON.
The audience consisted of students, CIO/CTO-level executives, active developers (of both closed and open source codebases), and various levels of academia. Basically, the attendees were a microcosm of IT. And no matter their knowledge of open source, they were there to learn more.
For those of us within the FOSS community, it may appear that the story of open source has shown itself to be a huge success, but the truth is that there is so much more to be told. Conferences such as POSSCON are those types of events where you are not so much preaching to the choir, as the old saying goes, but are instead spinning a tale that is new and wonderful to an eager audience. This sort of outreach, similar to that done by opensource.com, is as vital and as needed as ever.
Two areas where open source is making significant inroads is within government as well as the healthcare communities. Both were well represented at POSSCON; in fact, there was an extremely productive birds of a feather (BOF) session one evening regarding how open source, and the methodologies thereof, can make significant contributions to cancer research. The impact of open source continues to grow.