Larry the BSD Guy
The BSD devil resides in a penguin’s DNA.
After answering various calls for presentations to a few upcoming shows, it stands to reason that Tom Petty is right: The waiting is the hardest part.
Because I now use PC-BSD on a daily basis, the idea going forward is to pitch talks about the conversion from one side of the Free/Open Source Software street to the other; the uplifting situations and occasional hurdle such a conversion brings, and to outline the similarities (lots) and differences (few, but relatively significant) between Linux distros and BSD variants.
Full disclosure: No one realizes more than I do how difficult this talk is to compartmentalize among the specific categories that some shows have. This talk can best be described as a verbal Venn diagram showing the overlapping advantages that Linux and BSD provide, and then point out the differences between the two.
So out there at a few shows in the annual FOSS lineup, the speaker committees have my presentation proposal, entitled “The Devil in the Details: Switching to BSD from Linux,” and parts of my stock submission, gleaned here from the proposal to LinuxFest Northwest, goes like this:
“Most Free/Open Source Software users run Linux as their operating system of choice, choosing one (or more) of the 300 or so distros currently active on DistroWatch. Not as many have crossed the street, rhetorically speaking, and taken a look at the other Open Source operating system, BSD and its many variants.
“As a long time and current Linux user new to PC-BSD — essentially the BSD equivalent to Linux Mint — my intention is to:
“ — Outline the (many) similarities and (few) differences between Linux and BSD,
“ — Walk the audience through the process of moving from Linux to BSD, unless the audience needs to catch a flight, then I’ll run them through it,
“ — Describe the ease-of-use and pitfalls of day-to-day use of PC-BSD for the average user,
“ — How to pitch in and make code and other contributions (e.g., documentation, translation) to BSD variants, even while doing the same for Linux distributions,
“ — And more!
“This talk is more of an overview rather than instructional, though resources will be made available regarding where to download BSD variants and fundamental instructions on how to install it.”
OK, first, the title is no “Doc Like an Egyptian,” but I think it holds its own. Additionally, in events which asked for further details about what may be included in the presentation, I outlined the possibility — the possibility, mind you, but no guarantees as nothing was set in stone — that my talk would include a laser-light extravaganza, a sing-along (probably a madrigal), and a human sacrifice.
So…a talk about a unique FOSS topic, a laser-light show, madrigals, and a human sacrifice.
Seriously, how could any speaker selection committee resist?
First up: OSCON. The folks at O’Reilly thankfully kept my perfect record of rejections intact. Thanks, folks — no, really. It’s hard to tell whether our friends in Sebastopol are just adverse to laser-light shows or they really have a thing against leading the audience in song at tech events. You’ll see me in Austin anyway, and it is my most sincere hope that, at the very least, the folks making the decisions for OSCON speakers are at least getting a good laugh at my submissions over the years.
I’m still waiting and hoping on LinuxFest Northwest in April. Let’s be clear about one thing: I’m proud of my work for SCALE and I think SCALE the best FOSS expo in North America, if not the entire planet, but I have said on multiple occasions that LFNW is my favorite FOSS expo to attend. Whether or not my talk is accepted, I’ll go anyway because LFNW’s overwhelming “community feel” — opposed to the corporate tone of other shows — makes LFNW a must-attend show. No, I’m not just saying that because I want to speak there – I’ve spoken in Bellingham in the past and it was a privilege to do so.
The only other event so far other than OSCON and LFNW that has considered my talk — or, at least, has my proposal — is BSDCan 2016, the Canadian BSD fest in Ottawa in June. It will be my first BSD event of any kind, so I really have my fingers crossed for that one. But I can’t help that it will be preaching to the choir, so to speak. Nevertheless, I have a passport application already filled out just in case they say, “Come on up, eh?”
Other expos throughout this year should be forewarned: You’ll be seeing this on your CFP doorstep sometime during the course of the year. Thanks in advance for your consideration, and try not to laugh too hard.
See you next week.
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