While the majority of the greater PyCon schedule consists of events that we've had calls for proposals for, there are two other big pieces to the weekend that are organized on-site in Montréal: Lightning Talks and Open Spaces.
Lightning Talks are five minute talks that take place at the beginning and/or end of the day in 30 or 60 minute blocks. We've had some amazing talks packed into such a small slot, either by people who planned them ahead, or even some that were conceived at lunch that day. The Django project was first introduced to the public in a lightning talk at PyCon 2004. Docker was first demoed in a lightning talk at PyCon 2013. It's definitely an event you don't want to miss, and there are five sessions worth of them: one Friday, and two each Saturday and Sunday.
If you're interested in giving a Lightning Talk, be on the lookout for the signup boards near the registration desks that you'll need to get your name onto. Unlike last year, we're not doing pre-selection for these talks, so while we encourage people to prepare ahead of time (but also to spontaneously do them), selection will be determined based on the boards.
Open Spaces are a way to organize a gathering of people to talk about a particular topic. With 2500 attendees, PyCon is a great venue to meet with others interested in the same topics as you and discuss problems, come up with solutions, learn new things, and make cool stuff. All it takes is two people to have a discussion, put it up on the board, grab a room, and get started. Before you know it, others with a shared interest will have joined and you're all working together to make an impact on the topic or each other. It's pretty great.
As with Lightning Talks, Open Spaces are organized in the same manner: the signup boards near the registration desks.