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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!

2013: The year of . . .

January 6, 2013 3 comments

. . . oh, never mind. No, it’s not the year of the Ubuntu phone, so let’s not even start that nonsense.

Instead, let’s talk about a few things coming up on the proverbial FOSS radar, like:

SCALE 11X: The Southern California Linux Expo turns Linux/FOSS up to 11 this year at the first-of-the-year North American expo in February. If you want to take advantage of the half-price early-bird discount (worm optional), you must register by Tuesday, Jan. 8. Then admission prices kick back up to the regular rates. The speakers are set and much of the SCALE team, of which I am one, has their collective shoulders to the wheel. It’s going to be a good show this year — watch this space.

Almost Fedora 18: A few days ago, I made a joke — OK, so it wasn’t an unforgettable knee-slapper — that some folks took as an insult to the Fedora Project. What I said was this: They (meaning the Fedora Project) should just skip Fedora 18 and just release Fedora 19 in May on schedule. Ha ha. Just kidding, guys and gals. You know I have nothing but love and admiration for the Fedora Project, which does things right (like, for example, not releasing Fedora 18 when it’s not quite ready — better to release when it’s done rather than on a timetable). Yet, this fell into an e-mailbox today and it shows that Fedora 18 is closer to release than I had anticipated.

Warming Up to Your Distro: A woman in Michigan named Shandell Gager is knitting scarves by hand in the colors of your favorite distro. The cost for each of these scarves is $30, with $5 going to the distro as a donation. I’ve already ordered my CrunchBang scarf, and it sounds like a good way to fight off the cold and show your support for Linux/FOSS.

That’s all for now. More to follow (especially on SCALE 11X) soon.

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!

Never too early for SCALE

October 7, 2012 4 comments

Now that Ohio Linux Fest is in the books and now that the only thing really left on the Linux horizon is LISA in San Diego just after Thanksgiving — but then, LISA is not for us mere mortals, but for the hallowed and revered system administrators. So we get to set our sights on Linux/FOSS events for next year.

Starting in February, we get to turn it up to 11.

The Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 11X takes place in February again — thank goodness — and is scheduled for Feb. 22-24, 2013, at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel. As you might recall, SCALE 10X was moved to January, the weekend after linux.conf.au in Australia. While this caused a moderate amount of hue and cry, it proved that two major Linux events could be held on consecutive weekends on two separate continents.

Fortunately, we don’t have to deal with that exercise again this time, with SCALE 11X returning to its usual Presidents Day weekend schedule in February.

Here’s the lowdown: The call for papers opened about a month ago, and the deadline for submissions is Dec. 10. You’ll be notified by Christmas if your talk has been accepted. A complete run-down of what to do and how to do it can be found here.

Registration? If you’re ready to register, go ahead. You can go here and sign up now.

Matthew Garrett is giving one of the two keynotes at SCALE 11X, and his talk is entitled “The Secure Boot Journey.” He plans to detail his work over the past year – technical, political and diplomatic – in getting Linux to run on Unified Extensible Firmware Interface — more commonly known as UEFI — Secure Boot systems. He will outline the scenario where Linux users could not only be assured that they can run Linux out of the box in UEFI-based systems, but also how Secure Boot can be used to enhance security.

The second keynote has yet to be decided.

The usual tracks will be present as well as the celebrated UpSCALE talks and the legendary Games Event on Saturday night. More information on the keynote and other SCALE 11X developments will be released, of course, as they are confirmed.

Watch this space, or visit the SCALE 11X page at http://www.socallinuxexpo.org

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software 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!

T-minus 96 hours and counting

January 16, 2012 6 comments

Those who know me well know that, among other things, I really don’t like ice hockey. Oh, I root for the San Jose Sharks in the National Hockey League because they’re the “home team” here, just over the hill in the Silicon Valley (Edit: One thing about hockey I do like is The Green Men at the Vancouver Canucks games — very funny performances outside the visitor’s penalty box). But to be honest, it’s a sport that makes me grind my teeth. The truth of the matter is that I don’t like it because I can’t play it.

SCALE 10XSkating on ice is hard enough. Canadians, Scandinavians and Russians: I know you all have a gene that allows you to turn pirouettes on the ice straight from the womb, and that’s great. But I can’t stay perpendicular for very long while on skates on frozen water. Add to this that I’d have to stay perpendicular on the ice and keep a rubber disk in front of me with a stick; difficulty squared. The clincher? Keeping perpendicular on the ice while keeping a rubber disk in front of me with a stick while people are trying to knock me down (which, of course, would anger me to bodily harm on the ice, and I understand that you can’t legally hit people with your stick, unfortunately).

“So,” you ask, “are we going to get to the point of this blog anytime soon, Larry?”

Yes.

While I don’t like hockey, currently my favorite article of clothing is my SCALE hockey jersey, which is now packed and ready for SCALE 10X. SCALE 10X is being held Friday to Sunday of this week, a mere four days from today, at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel.

A little history: At SCALE 9X last year, the powers that be at the show figured there should be some way to identify the staff on the floor of the show — something that would make them stand out. The result: SCALE hockey jerseys, with the name of the staff person across the back. If you were a speaker, a vendor, an exhibitor or anyone else at the show and you needed something, you needed to give a hip check to the person you saw running around with a hockey jersey.

Or you could find me: I’d be the one in the hockey jersey taking five steps and immediately falling down, but I digress.

I’m giving two presentations at SCALE 10X this year — “User Groups 2.1: Noob Morning in America” (a reprise of last years “User Group 2.0″ talk) at 10 a.m. Friday in the hotel’s beautiful Catalina D room, and “On Beyond Zenwalk” on Saturday at 3 in the hotel’s Los Angeles B room. I’m also your host for the CrunchBang GNU/Linux “Birds of a Feather” event on Saturday evening as well.

Just don’t ask me to shoot and score.

More on SCALE 10X coming this week in this blog. Watch this space.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing 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!

No predictions in 2012, except . . .

January 3, 2012 1 comment

Normally, I take the time at the end of the year to be a complete goof (and that differs from the rest of the year . . . how?) and write some predicitions for the following year, like I did for 2009 and for 2010. I didn’t make any predictions for 2011 at the end of 2010 — rather, I wrote what I thought I’d like to see in 2011, followed by a Moment of Zen. For 2012, I decided to forego this practice altogether, if for no other reason than I can’t seem to fit a “year of the Linux desktop” joke into the mix.

But there are a couple of things we might see in 2012, like . . .

SCALE 10XLinux Expo Numbers Will Be Up: Don’t let the early curveball fool you: The Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 10X, held in January this year (as in about three weeks from now) in Los Angeles, kicks off the roster of Linux/FOSS expos for 2012, which stands to be the “Year of the Linux Desktop Expo” (See? You knew I’d get the Linux desktop in there somewhere). I’d be willing to bet that it has been obscured on people’s radar because of recently concluded the holiday season, so mark your calendars — and get yourself over to the registration page to sign up if you haven’t done so already. Also, the $109/night deal for SCALE attendees at the Hilton still stands as well. Because a.) what better way would it be to kick off this year and b.) how could you resist a weekend in L.A. with nearly 2,000 of your best friends?

That’s followed by Linux Fest Northwest (I’ll be there), Texas Linux Fest, and a slew of others. Which reminds me . . . .

I’ll be at more shows. Yep, I think I’m going to be heading east of the Rockies this year and submitting papers and venturing off to other shows where I have not yet been. This would include many, if not all, of the Linux expos on the other side of the Continental Divide. That could be an announcement or a warning — you decide.

One more thing: I heard this from more than one person. It could be a rumor, speculation, wishful thinking, acid flashback or whatever form these kind of statements take. I have no proof, just a gut feeling that it’ll happen. I could be wrong, but if I’m not, it’ll change the face of FOSS a little. OK, maybe it will change the face of FOSS more than a little.

It is this: Dell buys Canonical sometime in 2012.

Remember where you read it first.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research, in the cozy confines of his home office.)

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Eliminate DRM!

That’s my name, don’t wear it out

December 30, 2011 6 comments

Katherine Noyes put together a brief piece for PC World today about Linux release names which, overall, she seems to consider “silly.” In the process, she omits a great bit of detail on the “what” and “why” aspect of distro communities and how they come up with these “silly” names.

Digitally speaking, from a purely anthropological standpoint it is far from silly, and actually it’s quite an interesting topic, though Noyes seems to race through it without giving much detail.

So let me help out here.

SCALE 10XDebian: Release names come from “Toy Story.” As humorous as it is simple, this naming convention is one of the best. An interesting corollary to this is the Debian-based CrunchBang naming convention mirrors the first letter of the current Debian release, but matches it with a character from “The Muppet Show.” So Debian “Squeeze” is translated in CrunchBang to “Statler. “Wheezy” begets “Waldorf.” Statler and Waldorf, of course, are the two old guys in the balcony in “The Muppet Show.”

Linux Mint: I particularly like the naming convention Clement Lefevbre has come up with for Linux Mint. It’s alphabetically a woman’s name ending in “a.” We’re at Julia now. I asked Clement once what he’d do when he got to “Zelda” (or whatever the “Z” name will be for Linux Mint when they get that far . . . and they will), and he said that it was simple: Start with a name beginning with “A” and end the name in “e.”

Ubuntu: We all know the drill here — SABDFL* Mark Shuttleworth comes up with an adjective and an animal with the same first letter and hands it down to a waiting community. Which is in complete contrast to . . .

Fedora: There is a formula here that the Fedora Project adheres to before all hell breaks loose and fistfights break out in the Fedora community while they vote on the release name. The formula is simple: “$CURRENT_RELEASE_NAME is a (whatever it is — i.e., city, body of water, person, thing) and so is $NEXT_RELEASE_NAME.” Looking at Fedora 15 “Lovelock” to the current Fedora 16 “Verne,” it goes like this: James Lovelock was a futurologist, and so was Jules Verne. Now how they got from Verne to Fedora 17′s “Beefy Miracle” is a mystery for the ages.

OpenSUSE: OpenSUSE’s naming convention . . . does OpenSUSE even have a naming convention for releases?

Got a distro that has a naming convention worthy of mentioning? Let me know.

*Self-appointed benevolent dictator for life, for those of you keeping score at home.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office.)

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Eliminate DRM!

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