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April 27th, 2015

LinuxFest Northwest in the Books for 2015

Feast or famine: This is the typical modus operandi for FOSS shows, where Saturdays (or the “first days,” whatever they are) are a literal beehive of activity on the expo floor while talks are standing-room only. Sundays (or “second days”) — ah, those second days — the activity drops off a bit.

LinuxFest Northwest was no exception to this rule, but that said, it is not a bad thing that things quiet down on a Sunday.

First things first: a correction. Bill Wright aptly and politely pointed out that I wrote last week that this year’s event is the 15th. When I was choosing a career path all those years ago, I got into journalism because, well, I suck at mathematics. LFNW started in 2000 which, as Bill points out, makes this the 16th year of the show.

Meanwhile, back to Sunday…

With Sunday being more low-key, I got to catch up with LibreOffice’s Robinson Tryon, who said that the show was a hit for the project. Without the cacophony of multiple conversations going on at the same time, like on Saturday, we got to talk about advances LibreOffice is making in Android, which is going faster than expected, and various aspects of document freedom, not the least of which is the successful growth of Document Freedom Day. Heady days are in store for LibreOffice.

Some info culled from a conversation with Dru Lavigne and the folks in the FreeNAS/BSD booth is that they’re really ahead of the curve when it comes to ARM processors, moreso than their Linux counterparts. This undercurrent of competition may make for better software, and hardware, in the near future.

The only attendee/presenter in a suit at LinuxFest Northwest — and catching some good-natured hell for it — was consultant/SaltStack developer/all-around good guy Corey Quinn, who came up from San Francisco to do a presentation on Sunday afternoon (it should be noted, too, that Michael Dexter also gets points in this department for wearing a sports coat to LFNW). A FOSS-show veteran (and suited at each one), Corey was at his first LFNW, and he was impressed enough to make it a regular stop on his digital show itinerary going forward.

As of Monday morning, I don’t have an official tally of registrants for the show, and there are other tidbits, rumor and innuendo that we will have to confirm and post on Friday’s weekly wrap-up. But judging by the number of people in the expo hall, those filling the presentations and just being around the show, this year’s LFNW will be a record-setting event. Everyone involved in organizing this event should be proud — as proud as those of us who attended are grateful — for continuing to hold a world-class event with a community feel up in a corner of the Pacific Northwest.

One more thing: Special thanks goes to Emily Dunham, just formerly of OSU Open Source Lab as she goes on to proverbial greener pastures, for the OSWALD. What’s an OSWALD? You will be reading more about this unique piece of hardware on Wednesday.

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

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