Yes, I know LinuxCon has come and gone, and I think they’ve got the publicity thing covered, especially with the 20-year thing, the gala party, and with Linus being there and all. The buzz is still going, and that’s good. But if you’re going to a Linux show, make it the Ohio LinuxFest in September. Bradley Kuhn and Cathy Malmrose are keynoting, so you’ll not want to miss that (especially Cathy — Go ZaReason!) Oh, look! It’s a blog item having to do with OLF below.
With the Utah Open Source Conference off the table this fall — rumor has it is coming back as a spring event starting in 2012 — one of the last chances to get in a Linux conference in 2011 is to head to Columbus, Ohio, next weekend for the Ohio Linux Fest.
Ohio Linux Fest runs from Sept. 9-11 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in downtown Columbus. For the ninth time in as many years, OLF opens its doors again for Open Software professionals, enthusiasts, and everyone interested in learning more about Free and Open Source Software.
That, I hope, includes you.
OLF has three outstanding keynoters this year: Bradley Kuhn, a free software advocate with portfolio, is director of the Software Freedom Conservancy. Cathy Malmrose is a cofounder and CEO of ZaReason, an optimized-for-Linux computer company. Cathy also is a founder of Partimus, an organization which supports computers in education by setting up and maintaining Linux-based computer labs in San Francisco Bay Area schools. Last, and certainly not least, is Jon “maddog” Hall, who of course needs little introduction, but for the record he is the executive director of Linux International, an association of computer users who wish to support and promote the Linux operating system (which accompanies a resume of digital accomplishments too extensive to go into here).
Friday features sessions, an all-day Medical track focusing on the use of Linux and open source software in the health care field, and an all-day Ubucon presented by the Ubuntu project. The day closes with maddog’s keynote.
Saturday opens with Cathy’s keynote followed by a full slate of talks on four different tracks and company demonstrations on the Open Source Solutions Stage. A talk by Bradley will focus on the issues of freedom with software as a service (SaaS). And maddog wraps up Saturday’s talks with a look forward 20 years to free software in the year 2031 before music by Dual Core ends the day.
On Sunday, sharpen your No. 2 pencils: The Linux Professional Institute will host exams, and the Diversity in Open Source workshop takes place on Sunday as well.
Were I to go to this event, naturally I’d catch all the keynotes — especially Cathy Malmrose’s — and this would be my so-called Linux expo “dance card” for the weekend:
On Friday, Three must-see talks would be Mark Terranova’s presentation on “So What Kind of Cult is Linux, Anyway?” — and wondering aloud whether Mark’s going to dress up in the penguin suit — and follow it up with Edward Cherlin’s “Linux for All” before going to Ruth Suehle’s “Off Your Linux Machine and Into Your Doctor’s Office.”
After some stiff coffee Saturday morning, I’d make a point to go to Mel Chua’s “Level-up with Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: turn your life into a data-driven video game with FOSS” (and anyone who can say that in one breath wins), followed Karlie Robinson’s “The Business of Linux – How Individuals Can Get in the Game,” and later in the afternoon I’d catch Paul Frields’ “Graduating to GUI: PyGObject for Beginners.”
On Sunday, I would take the LPI exam — I should have taken it at SCALE but I was so swamped with double duty in the Fedora booth and in the SCALE front office (I’m co-chair of publicity) that I didn’t have time to put pencil to paper. Next year, count on it.
If you live within driving distance of Columbus — and my definition of driving distance means if you can drive there in a day — you should attend this event. Of course, you can fly there as well if you live further, but get there to be at what has become Linux’s must-attend fall event.
During the 2010 baseball season, the San Francisco Giants — the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants (yours truly never tires of saying that) — had a slogan, “Fear the Beard.” Most of the pitching staff — relievers and closer Brian Wilson specifically — were bearded pitching machines mowing down opposing batters.
Historically speaking, the tech realm and beards have never been too far apart, at least for the men. As such, there are some in the FOSS realm who deserve special recognition for not only advancing free/open source software, but also for forsaking the razor and putting a hairy face forward.
This blog item deals with beards specifically, so those with FOSS’s most awesome goatees — like Red Hat’s Karsten Wade, freelance FOSS journalist Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier and Oregon State University Professor Carlos Jensen, all of whom would definitely get top honors in this category — aren’t included here. Sorry, guys. Same with moustaches: For example, Mark Terranova’s ‘stache belongs in any facial hair Hall of Fame; a piece of work that would easily get him membership in The Village People — and I mean that in a good way (however, truth be told, when he’s got a beard, Mark runs with the best of ’em).
Here is a sampling of what I find are the best beards in FOSS, in no particular order other than to say that if anyone got a first prize, it would have to go to . . .
Jon ‘maddog’ Hall: Despite getting a lot of input from those who think Richard Stallman should get top billing, sorry, RMS: Maddog takes the prize as the FOSS advocate with historically the best beard in the realm, to which picture at right will attest. Or you could look up Father Christmas in the dictionary and, chances are, you’ll find maddog’s picture with the definition. Despite recently going for the Sean-Connery-as-Indiana-Jones’-Dad look (see next paragraph) to go along with the 70 or so pounds he dropped — a great thing, indeed — Hall’s beard has always been the standard of epic in the FOSS beard pantheon.
[Maddog, shown at left in his new closer cropped form, comments in response to an e-mail: “And for beards, I could NEVER understand why someone would want to put a very sharp instrument close to their throat when they are only partially awake. I have not shaved since 1969 . . . .” Also, to the youngsters out there, maddog has a message: “I am glad that you are twenty . . . I enjoy seeing your youthful energy and beauty, and some days when I wake up and I am stiff, I wish I was twenty again . . . but I only wish that for about fifteen minutes.” Amen to that!]
Richard Stallman: Most people I’ve talked to about this have said, after they stopped laughing at the topic (“No, really, I’m writing on the BEARDS of FOSS . . .”), that RMS should have the top spot, and in lieu of Jon ‘maddog’ Hall’s change in appearance, they might be right. The bearded face that launched a thousand tools to make the Linux kernel run, and launched a free software movement to boot, has been the one most commonly associated with free-as-in-freedom software. Not only this, he also sidelines as a saint — if you’ve never seen the St. Ig-GNU-tius schtick, check it out. I first saw this several years ago when Stallman spoke at UC Berkeley, and it never gets old despite being bearded (and I mean that in a good way).
Timothy Budd: If you are now, or have been, a student of computer science at a university, there’s a chance you may have had a class with a textbook Timothy Budd had written. An associate professor of computer science at Oregon State University — Go Beavers! — Tim has written a dozen textbooks on object-oriented programming, data structures and Leda, a multi-paradigm programming language that yours truly admits to not understanding at all. Be that as it may, Tim’s advocacy for FOSS during his time at OSU — he has had me as well as others speak to his graduate classes on FOSS — and his healthy crop of hair on his chin garners him a spot on the list. Besides, since he is well known by his students for his use of the term “Administrivia,” he gets on the list by simple use of that bearded word alone.
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols’ beard is one that most FOSS users and advocates are accustomed to seeing on a nearly daily basis when reading the latest developments in Free/Open Source Software news. Whenever there’s news to be delivered, the FOSS community can count on Steven being the one who brings it to us; not only this, usually Steven is first with the news, which should garner him the nickname “Scoop.” Now writing for ZDNet as well, Steven gets what is rightfully more exposure in writing news that’s important to us — and to everyone else, for that matter. Steven gets extra points for being a Asheville Tourists fan — the Tourists being one of the most unique mascot names for a baseball team in the country.
Me: In an unprecedented display of unabashed ego worthy of another Larry — the CEO of Oracle whom, incidentally, has what’s trying to be a beard on his face, but not doing a very good job of it (but I digress) — I like to think that my beard would rank up there among bearded FOSS titans, not because of any accomplishment of my own — OK, the Lindependence Project . . . maybe — but just by the mere fact that it grows, with Wolfman-like speed, on my face. Herein lies the story: I’m a werewolf. Just kidding — I grew first grew my beard after Jerry Garcia died in Jerry’s honor, but my family hated it. So I went back and forth between having it and not having it until making a pact with my family: Even-numbered years, a moustache; odd-numbered years, the beard.
I’ve missed a lot of people, which is where you come in: Who did I miss and why is should their beard be in the FOSS Hairy-Faced Hall of Fame?
[Photos of Jon “maddog” Hall, Timothy Budd and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols used by permission. The photo of Richard Stallman was taken by Copyleft and appears here under the GPL and CC-Share-Alike licenses afforded by the photographer. I haven’t decided to give myself permission to use my photo, but it’s probably OK.]
(Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs Redwood Digital Research in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation. He is also one of the founders of the Lindependence Project.)