Toward the end of this week — well, Thursday to be exact — I’ll be loading up the car with a few laptops, about 100 pieces of CrunchBang media (DVDs, not CDs), a paper #! banner, my daughter and her equipment and we’ll head north to Linux Fest Northwest in Bellingham, Washington on April 27-28.
The question now is whether I have the time to swing by Corvallis, Oregon, and maybe stop in to visit Lance Albertson and the folks at both the Oregon State University Open Source Lab and the EECS department at Oregon State on Friday morning . . . .
As those of you who regularly read this blog already know, I say with annoying redundancy that the best Linux/FOSS show in North America is the Southern California Linux Expo. I would say that even if I was not affiliated with it, because it is — an all-volunteer staff puts together a three-day show that clearly rivals the corporate FOSS kumbaya in Portland every summer known as OSCON.
In its 14th year, LFNW is built from the same all-volunteer blueprint; in fact, the folks who put on this fest may claim credit for having a significant hand in drawing up the blueprint since it slightly predates SCALE. This blueprint also is used with other Linux/FOSS events around the country: Indiana Linux Fest, Texas Linux Fest, Ohio Linux Fest . . . the list goes on.
So LFNW is by us for us, and with the attendance growing every year — last year it was around 1,200 for the weekend event — I am always looking forward to going to it. Last year, I said I’d walk to Bellingham to make it to LFNW and I stand by that statement. In short, the show is that good.
I’ll be staffing the CrunchBang booth at LFNW. We also have a Birds of a Feather gathering scheduled for Saturday afternoon and I speak on Sunday at 11 a.m. on “Intro to CrunchBang.” Due to a scheduling conflict with CrunchBang lead developer Philip Newborough, unfortunately we won’t be having him present remotely at the BoF as we did last year.
Last year, flying the CrunchBang flag was quite successful, as I noted here. Many were surprised that we had a booth, some had never heard of CrunchBang (heresy!) and others were glad to see us there. We even got a couple of new users who tried CrunchBang and liked it. Now if I can get another interview on Hacker Public Radio, we’ll be all set.
Watch this space — updates as they develop.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I had an entertaining April Fools’ Day, especially thanks to the extent that Google went in providing us with the camouflage of yanking Google Reader by providing such diversions as Google Smell, the Google Map Treasure Edition and — my favorite — Gmail Blue (it’s so . . . blue).
In fact, I had plans of my own but never completed them — and my sincere apologies to Jef Spaleta for that. I had planned to write a campaign platform for Jef and me as a pair of candidates — Spaleta/Cafiero 2013 — for the upcoming Ubuntu Membership Board elections. This platform was going to liberally sprinkle quotes from last year’s Jono Bacon April 1 piece about Jono really being Jef Spaleta, and of course the multiplicity of reasons why you, as a faithful member of the Ubuntu Apocalypse, should vote for him, or for both of us.
But I never got around to it.
[Note to Ubunteros: You’re welcome to write-in either Jef or me on your ballot if you have qualms about the direction that Ubuntu is taking. Just a suggestion . . . ]
However, I am guilty of one prank. Blame Gareth Greenaway, a bad influence and the operations committee chair for the Southern California Linux Expo (not necessarily in that order). Toward the end of SCALE 11X this year, he had an idea for an April Fools’ goof that would involve SCALE and O’Reilly: SCALE would take over OSCON. Ideally, O’Reilly would be in on this — an opportunity on which they passed (shame on them) — and we’d both post a release on our sites saying that O’Reilly had handed OSCON over to us at SCALE (EDIT: I have taken down the release from the SCALE site, and it can be found in the comments). Alas, it was a one-sided affair, posted on our social media and on the SCALE 11X site. To my knowledge, it was received very well, in its own transparent way.
In case you didn’t get it, SCALE is not taking over OSCON. If you spell out the first letters of each paragraph, you get the message.
Some folks don’t like April 1. I’m not one of them. I like the free rein of having a day where you can exercise your wits in convincing others of something that isn’t true, and then move on. I can dish it out and I can take it — and I don’t mind so much being on the receiving end of a prank if it’s well crafted.
So tomorrow I pick up my guitar and play, just like yesterday, and I get on my knees and pray . . . .
I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, and certainly I am not. Honest. But one of the problems with working on a show like Southern California Linux Expo and this year’s SCALE 11X leaves me little time to do anything but the wood-chopping and water-carrying that goes with being the publicity chair for the show. Let me be clear: This is not a complaint, but rather an explanation about why you’re not going to get a comprehensive report about the event.
Others are doing that for me, and it was as great as they say it is; possibly moreso.
The reason SCALE achieves an annual uptick in greatness — and SCALE 11X is no exception — lies squarely with the volunteers who make this work. I have it easy chairing publicity and I’m not referring to what I do so much as the stellar work the Publicity Team does — Hannah Anderson, Dennis Rex, Michelle Klein-Hass, Sam Lee, and Scott Ruecker (remotely — we’ll see you next year, Scott!) all put in a herculean effort to get the word, and photos, out before and during the show. Words can’t describe the effort of those who set up the rooms, those who set up and make sure the AV works, those who make sure the tsunami of humanity coming to register and attend have their badges and swag bags ready, and those who keep the digital infrastructure running to the best of its ability under trying conditions and uncooperative attendees or exhibitors — all these folks get my undying gratitude and they deserve everyone’s deepest thanks. All you guys make it work.
Also, the show doesn’t work without the speakers who provide deeply informative talks on a wide range of topics. One of the telling factors in the success of SCALE 11X is that standing room only was the course of the day for many of the presentations, including the last group of sessions at 4:30 on Sunday afternoon. It’s a testament to the quality of the speakers and their topics, and
And . . . it doesn’t work without the folks who attend — so a big thanks go out to each of the 2,304 attendees at this year’s SCALE 11X. It would have been 2,305 if the pass for Elvis Presley, who had been comped for the show (the King of Rock and Roll should go to the event that goes to 11!), had been picked up, thankyouverymuch.
But a few things bear mentioning:
Tap, tap . . . is this thing on? I got to speak twice at SCALE, once to the Linux Beginners class at SCALE 11X, where I talked mostly about how not to be intimidated about joining a distro community (“just tell them if they’re not nice to you, I’ll come and make their lives miserable” . . . OK, just kidding). I also held a Birds of a Feather event for CrunchBang, which was attended by about 20 people and my short presentation was followed by a pretty lively discussion.
Pleased to meet you, hope you’ve guessed my name: I have carried on online conversations for years with people and have never met them in person, but occasionally shows like SCALE 11X allows us to meet face to face. I finally got to meet Patrick Stewart’s BFF and Red Hat guy Thomas Cameron, which didn’t go as smoothly as it could have. “Hi, Thomas,” I said, shaking his hand. “How’s it going?” he said. Cue awkward silence. “OK, so let me draw my beard on my face so I look like my Facebook photo . . . ” Hilarity ensued. Apparently I don’t look enough like my former Facebook photo, and thanks to Ruth Suehle for taking my photo with Raspberry Pi on my face — yes, the little motherboard — I now look more like, well, me on Facebook. Whether that’s a good thing or not . . .
Conversely . . . : Because I have to keep the SCALE media humming, I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with the people I do see somewhat frequently at shows like SCALE. Apologies to Clint Savage, Scott Williams, Scott Dowdle, Christer Edwards, Jeremy Sands, Trevor Sharpe, Deb Nicholson and many others for just saying “hi” and “bye” in the hallways during the course of the show. Of course, a -1 to Mother Nature for keeping Rikki Endsley home in Lawrence, Kan., thanks to a heaping helping of snow.
Thank you, Fedora: For years, I’ve always wanted a Fedora cap. Let me rephrase that: I’ve always wanted a Fedora Project cap, and finally this year the Fedora Project had them in the booth. They also had the Spherical Cow, a.k.a. Fedora 18, in the booth, and one of the perks about making a quick run to the show floor was picking it up. I gave it a quick run, live DVD style, and I think it was worth the wait. I’ll install it and put it through its paces later.
In fact, maybe I’ll just sign off and do that now. See you in Bellingham, Wash., for Linux Fest Northwest at the end of April.
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.
It’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.
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.
This 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.
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.
. . . 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.
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.