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Herding cats

February 17, 2013 Leave a comment

It’s February and I’m swamped. It can only mean one thing — this year’s version of the Southern California Linux Expo, more commonly known to the rest of the world this year as SCALE 11X, is finally in the starting blocks and ready to run.

scale11x-125x125aIt’s cat herding time: Yes, getting all the tech and non-tech media to pay attention and come to the event is best described as herding cats, but it’s something I love doing. As the publicity chair for SCALE, I never have a dull moment from, say, Boxing Day in the previous December until the end of the show. With the help of Scott Ruecker, Hannah Anderson, Dennis Rex and the rest of the SCALE Publicity Team, we also get the word out to the wider Linux/FOSS audience to come to the show, or else miss the best Linux/FOSS show in North America.

I mention the glorius burden of my own personal SCALE workload because I’m always there but I can never see any of the presenations I’d like to see. Given the opportunity to see a presentation or several, I’d pick . . . all of them. But most immediately, there are several part of SCALE 11X that are not to be missed:

The Keynotes: Both Matthew Garrett and Kyle Rankin bring excellent topics — UEFI and 3-D printing, respectively — to the keynote talks on Saturday and Sunday mornings. This is the first time in awhile that I’ve thought, “Dang, I have to make both of these.” There’s a good chance I can make one, or maybe (knock on wood) both of them this year, and you should, too.

Most of Friday’s sessions: OK, so cloning technology isn’t up to splitting me into several people and all of them going to different sessions on Friday. But between the Chef Training, the Cloud sessions, the PostgreSQL track, the Mentoring track and the Puppet track, I’d be bouncing like a pinball between them for a better part of the day. To say nothing of the Linux Essentials Prep, which I have to take someday. After all this on Friday, there’s . . .

UpSCALE: I did this once, and I’d do it again if my most excellent partner in digital crime (also known as my daughter Mimi) would join me in taking the stage again. The Friday night to-do is in the form of the Ignite Talks, where a speaker is at the mercy of a timer which is advancing his/her slides at a 20-second-per clip and they’re always fun, mostly interesting and continually a topic of discussion throughout the course of the show.

And then
there’s a line up of speakers throughout the rest of the weekend for whom I’d walk a mile on my knees through broken glass to attend their presentations: Joe Brockmeier, Ruth Suehle, Deb Nicholson, Owen DeLong, Dru Lavigne, Christer Edwards, Jason Brooks, and Thomas Cameron top this list that goes on for quite some time. In addition, we have some first-timers to SCALE who deserve special mention, like retro gamer Guillermo Antonio Amaral Bastidas and Oregon State University Open Source Lab manager Lance Albertson. Heck, even a few current and former SCALE folks come out from behind the curtain and are giving presentations: Stuart Sheldon, Tom King and Jenn Greenaway take the stage as well.

You’ll have to check the schedule here to find out when these folks are speaking. Meanwhile, when I’m able, I’ll be at sessions I can make, but for the most part you can find me in the press room.

I’ll be the one with the string and the catnip.

One more time: We turn it up to 11 this year — a reference many of the folks my age laugh uproariously to, but one which some of the younger speakers may not know. Watch this.

More to follow. Watch this space.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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Eliminate DRM!

Going to 11

February 10, 2013 1 comment

The beginning of the year is always a time when I am absolutely swamped. I kiss my loved ones goodbye and then I immerse myself in the tsunami known as preparation for the Southern California Linux Expo.

scale11x-125x125aThis year, SCALE is turning it up to 11 with SCALE 11X. In its 11th year, SCALE is the first-of-the-year Linux/FOSS expo in North America that usually (except for last year) is held in February during President’s Day weekend. This year, it’s Feb. 22-24 at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel.

An aside: Every year I say that the San Francisco Giants are going to win the World Series. They’ve made me correct two of the last three years, and no one is more surprised about that than I am. Conversely, I also say every year that the upcoming SCALE event will be the best ever, and my record here is always better than two out of three.

The difference here, though, is that I’m never surprised when it comes to SCALE that each year beats the previous one.

This year, we have good reason to expect great things at SCALE 11X. If nothing else that makes the show great, Matthew Garrett will be giving us his insights on breaking free of the UEFI chains in the Saturday keynote.

But we’re getting ahead of the story. There are events, talks, sessions and activities for everyone at every level of experience. And then some. You’ll just have to visit the schedule board here to take a look.

As the chair of the Publicity Team — that’s chief cat-herder for the tech and mainstream press, to most of you — I get to write the publicity blurbs and announcements that go out on a regular basis; even more regular now that we’re on the proverbial doorstep of SCALE 11X. In counting up the number of speakers — not including those all-day sessions which may have more than one — we have 91 speakers over the three-day weekend.

So we have nearly as many speakers as we have exhibitors. Permit me to pause to reflect on that for a moment.

Done.

Also since my duties at the expo tend to keep me in the press room for 95 percent of the show, you can be sure that I won’t miss the Saturday keynote. The topic of Secure Boot and how to get around it is of vital importance and Matthew Garrett’s keynote is one that is not to be missed. But other than that, and a lap or two around the floor to see if the exhibitor’s publicity needs are taken care of, I’ll be sequestered in the press room for a better part of the show.

We turn it up to 11 this year — a reference many of the folks my age laugh uproariously to, but one which some of the younger speakers may not know. Watch this.

More on SCALE 11X to come in the next several days.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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Eliminate DRM!

J’accuse

January 13, 2013 1 comment

Despite knowing his remarkable work and reading about him — and reading things he’d written — in various tech media from time to time, Aaron Swartz and I have never met.

Nevertheless, what we share is a distant kinship — however remote — bound by both a deep and appreciative admiration on my part of Aaron’s accomplishments joined by advocating Aaron’s positions and philosophies on digital information’s use and availability.

As a FOSS advocate, you also share these same things with Aaron, to whatever degree you knew him, or didn’t know him.

So I’ll let the others who knew him personally take care of the rememberances and the eulogies; like his family, Lawrence Lessig here and here (especially the latter), as well as the folks at Electronic Frontier Foundation.

I’m happy to remember Aaron’s many accomplishments — a far wider scope of accomplishments than nearly all of us will ever achieve — and I’m inspired by the work he did during his short lifetime. My sincerest hope is that others remember Aaron and his accomplishments; and in remembering the man and his vast contributions for the general good of all they are inspired to the same degree, if not more.

However, this paragraph from the official statement from the family and partner of Aaron Swartz speaks volumes:

“Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.”

So to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Massachusetts and to MIT, I so state: J’accuse.

UPDATE: There’s a petition on whitehouse.gov to remove U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz from office for overreach in the case of Aaron Swartz. Sign it here. Now. Also, Democracy Now! has Lawrence Lessig on talking about Aaron Swartz here.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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Eliminate DRM!

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