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February 1st, 2016

Spring 2016 ‘Big Tent’ Linux and FOSS Conferences

Two down and one to go for the big Linux and FOSS conferences for the winter of 2016.

Today linux.conf.au 2016 gets cranked up for a five day run in the land down under for a big tent show where registration is sold out. This comes on the heels of another big show which folded its tent last night, FOSDEM 2016, the two day event that ran this weekend in Brussels. Both of these came after the most hyped SCALE ever — and evidently rightfully so. The first-of-the-year Linux and FOSS lovefest vacated the Pasadena Convention center a little over a week ago, not to return until March 2-5, 2017, a very late date for that event.

As the big winter events get entered in the record books, organizers of other conferences are already getting cranked-up for a full slate of events scheduled for this spring, so anyone who missed the chance to hobnob and rub shoulders with like-minded FOSS folks this winter need have no regrets, because a Linux or FOSS festival is certain to be coming to your neck of the woods soon.

Great Wide Open

Great Wide Open FOSS conference logoFirst up for the big tent events for this spring will be Great Wide Open in Atlanta. Although the event will take place March 16-17, which is actually a few days before spring’s official arrival, it’s a good bet that Atlanta will be in full bloom by the time the conference opens its doors at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center in the city’s midtown area.

This year is something of a reboot for the event, which skipped last year after an inaugural run in 2014. Like IT-oLogy’s other big events — POSSCON and All Things Open — this conference will focus on the enterprise, so you’re not likely to see folks like Maddog Hall or Richdard Stallman on the speaker roster. What you will see are the names of industry leaders, representing both the established big players like Google and Red Hat, as well as cutting edge startups.

What conference chairperson Todd Lewis calls “version 1.0” of the schedule went online last week, and it looks good. In a recent email exchange, Lewis told me that this year’s schedule is set-up a little differently than previous IT-oLogy events, with the first day featuring sessions in the 45 minutes to an hour range with multiple tracks, and the second day featuring longer two hour sessions “which will allow for a deeper dive on fewer topics.”

“We hope the mix is a good one for attendees, and we believe it will be,” Lewis added. “We’ll also feature 6-8 five-minute Lightning Talks in the afternoon on Thursday the 17th, which should round out content for the day nicely.”

Expect the focus at Great Wide Open to be on the technology, as well as some marketing, front office and legal sessions. If you work in IT, you’ll want to consider putting this on your schedule as it’ll offer an opportunity to catch up on developing trends as well as the chance to get up-to-date on the latest best practices in the use of open source software your company might be using or planning to implement.

If you want to attend this one, you’ll want to go ahead and register now. Early bird pricing — $75 for each day — will be in effect until February 20.

LinuxFest NorthwestLinuxFest NorthWest 2016

This year LinuxFest NorthWest, a favorite FOSS conference for those on the Pacific Coast, will be celebrating year number 17, meaning it has a history going all the way back to last century, which is saying something in the world of Linux festivals. The event is held each year on the last weekend of April — making this year’s event on April 23-24 — in Bellingham, Washington, at Bellingham Technical College. With the “call for papers” still open, the schedule’s not yet set for this one, but a hint of what to expect can be found by looking at last year’s schedule. We’ll let you know more about this year’s event as information becomes available to us.

Last year we offered boots-on-the-ground coverage of this event, and we hope to turn that into a tradition this year (hint: you can help make this happen. among other things, by making a contribution to our Indiegogo campaign).

SouthEast LinuxFest

The SouthEast LinuxFest happens so late in the spring — June 10-12 — that it’s practically summer, especially in Charlotte, North Carolina which might be called the gateway to the deep south, where spring is often like other folks’ summers. As with LinuxFest NorthWest, it’s too early for the schedule to be set yet for this one, but the event’s website says to check back in the first week of April, so we’re only a few weeks away from finding out what to expect. I expect to be talking soon with Jeremy Sands, the events go-to guy, which will surely result in an update on these pages.

I can tell you from personal experience that last year’s speaker list presented something of a Who’s Who of FOSSdom, and represented a good mix of industry and community speakers. It was also a great time — maybe the best time this little FOSS loving young ‘un ever had at a conference. You can be sure that I’ll be there again this year, offering FOSS Force’s patented wall-to-wall coverage.

Last year’s SouthEast LinuxFest was streamed live in it’s entirety by Jupiter Broadcasting. No word yet on whether we’ll see a repeat of that this year.

Keep in mind, these are just the big tent events for this spring — and just the events here in the U.S. Check your local listings for any smaller regional events that might be closer to your home. And if you find something we’re neglecting, let us know and we’ll get it on our calendar.

We’re currently in the midst of our 2016 Indiegogo fundraising drive. Your support is crucial. Won’t you please visit our fundraising page and make a contribution to support FOSS Force?

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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