What happens when you put Microsoft and a penguin together? Would you believe Flourish got its roots from this odd couple pairing? It's true! In the Fall of 2006, the University of Illinois at Chicago Linux Users Group (UIC-LUG) were distributing GNU/Linux CDs outside the Microsoft Internship Information Session on campus. Many students accepted our CDs and many more got a good laugh from our mascot, a UIC-LUG member dressed in a full body Tux the Penguin costume. After the information session had started, a man walking by commented about wondering why Microsoft would arrange to have a person dressed as a Penguin outside their information session. The student dressed as Tux explained to the man that we were not from Microsoft and that we were there to spread awareness of GNU/Linux and FLOSS software. The man then asked us a very good question, "Does Linux bring jobs to UIC?" In response to the man's question, the UIC-LUG decided to organize a conference to explore if FLOSS trully provides jobs and opportunities for growth. As a result, our annual Flourish conference was born.
The goal of the Flourish Conference is to promote the use and adoption of Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) by demonstrating the practical applications of FLOSS in the business and academic world. While everyone is familiar with businesses that focus on creating non-free proprietary software, the same cannot be said for those who specialize in developing and supporting FLOSS software and Open Culture. Attendees of Flourish have an opportunity to see how using, creating and supporting FLOSS software can enhance their careers, businesses and academic aspirations.