My first Southern California Linux Expo was SCALE 7x, where I was a booth dude for the Fedora Project. The reason I bring this up is because it was the last SCALE where I was able to attend sessions or work booths, because starting with SCALE 8x, I was a SCALE volunteer (in publicity) and then made my way up the proverbial ladder to SCALE Publicity Chair.
I bring this up because since SCALE 8x, my life is never my own during mid-February. Frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way — being part of SCALE every year, working with the rest of the SCALE team to make a great show, and leading a fantastic SCALE publicity team made up of Hannah Anderson, Dennis Rex, Sean McCabe, Sam Is, Michelle Klein-Hass, Jason Riker, and new this year, Mimi Cafiero.
But I do miss going to sessions, working the booths and being on the expo floor — things I get to do at other shows — instead of sitting in the captain’s chair on the bridge up in the media room marshaling the resources and the team.
So if I were going to attend SCALE 13x as an unhindered, unencumbered attendee — after sitting down and reviewing the overwhelming choices in this year’s four-day event — I’d try to catch as much as I can, whether it’s checking in from time to time on the openSUSE Mini Summit, Ubucon, Infrastructure.Next, PostgreSQL Days, and even — if I had the money to spend — on the separate-purchase Puppet Camp.
Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it. You can look at the schedule yourself on the SCALE website. But given the time, and enough coffee, here’s where I’d spend my time:
Keynotes: Both keynotes this year should be outstanding, even by SCALE’s stratospheric standards. Ruth Suehle, always a favorite in the presentation department, will be tying Makers and FOSSers together on Sunday morning, while Monty Taylor explains the nuances of lemmings and how Open Source is still relevant with the Saturday morning keynote.
Sessions of note: There are about 130 sessions at SCALE 13x and a great majority of them are of interest to the beginner and/or intermediate user. A rule of thumb in attending a session is that if you’ve never heard of the software and/or you’d never have a reason to use it, you’re probably not a sysadmin and don’t need to attend. That’s of little consolation to most, because of the packed schedule.
Me? On Saturday I’d make a point to go see Alison Chaiken’s systemd talk, wearing Kelvar of course to deflect flying bullets, and I’d also try to make Clint Savage’s FreeIPA (a program, not a beer) talk. One presentation of special note is Charlie Kravetz’s talk on accessibility in Linux, which should be good. For the BSDers in the crowd, Dru Lavigne talks about what’s new in FreeNAS, and Michael Dexter will be talking about virtualizaiton in FreeBSD.
Of course I’d do a few laps around the expo floor as well, visiting the 100 exhibitors who are part and parcel of the SCALE 13x experience.
Sunday. If I haven’t dropped dead by this point — and what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger — I will probably make a conscious effort to see and hear Nathan Willis on hacking cars, Lance Albertson on Packer (the program, not the football team), Emily Dunham on Human Hacking (which I understand was a hit at the Seattle GNU Linux conference, or SeaGL), and Deb Nicholson’s software patent talk.
And a few more rounds on the expo floor.
Again, the schedule holds the key to what you want to do at SCALE 13x, and I would take advantage of all the great things the show has to offer.
More to follow on SCALE 13x during the course of the week. Coverage of the expo on FOSS Force begins Thursday, and runs daily through Sunday.