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July 23rd, 2015

OSCON: From the Expo Floor

I’ve said this before: Going from FOSS expo to expo several times a year is like following the Grateful Dead from gig to gig, or to help younger folks understand it, following Phish all over the place and ending up at Bonnaroo.

Like many of the Linux/FOSS events that dot the calendar year, OSCON resembles that — Bonnaroo without the mosh pit (though now that I’ve written that, let’s see if something like that appears in Austin next year) — but along with the camaraderie there’s also an element of “high school reunion” in the mix.

Fedora logo

Fedora Project leadership alumni were out in force at OSCON.

Though it’s mostly the same faces — the same welcoming, friendly faces — augmented by new faces, the new stories abound.

Take Jared Smith, for example. Jared once was the Project Leader for the Fedora Project and when I last left him, he was at Red Hat. Not anymore: Jared has taken the reins of the community wagon train at Bluehost, and talking with him in passing. he said he was enjoying his new role and he’s glad to be able to drive much of the support of Open Source projects that enjoy Bluehost’s endorsements. Glad to see Bluehost taking an interest in open source projects.

In fact, former Fedora Project Leaders (FPL) were somewhat abundant at OSCON. While Ansible doesn’t have a booth at OSCON, that doesn’t mean that Ansible does not have a presence. They do, and it’s the self-described “walking booth” known as former FPL Robyn Bergeron. Robin has taken on the role of — fanfare, maestro — Community Architect for Ansible, where she starts on Aug. 3. Needless to say, she’ll be running the Ansible Birds of a Feather on Thursday night at OSCON as well.

The place is crawling with authors, too. HP’s Lisa-Marie Namphy released the second edition of her book “OpenStack Technology: Breaking the Enterprise Barrier” at OSCON, which was available at the HP booth, along with a stream of several O’Reilly authors at the O’Reilly booth today — a special shout-out to my longtime friend and Evergreen Community College professor (and now O’Reilly author) J. David Eisenberg, signing copies of his book at the O’Reilly booth Thursday afternoon.

Then there were a couple of Scotts in the Fedora booth at the crack of, well, opening the expo hall at 9: Scott Suehle of Cumulus Networks — spouse of Raspberry Pi book author and Red Hat’s Community Team leader Ruth Suehle — was on hand to catch up in the Fedora booth, as well as Scott Williams, a long-time Fedora contributor and biblical scholar, when he’s not a DevOps engineer at Claremont McKenna College.

Lance Albertson and the Oregon State University Open Source Lab crew were ubiquitous at OSCON, with their Pokemon card contest. It will be interesting to see who comes up with the prizes this year. Usenix’s Julie Miller, who always puts in a herculean effort show after show, singlehandedly staffed the Usenix booth at OSCON and it’s always great to trade “war stories” with her at every show. Same with Opensource.com’s Rikki Endsley and Jason Hibbets, who are so phenomenally instrumental in promoting Open Source through their online publication.

There are no exhibit hall hours tomorrow, sadly, but there are keynotes and sessions. Perhaps the most interesting of the keynotes tomorrow is that of Keila Banks, a 13-year-old wunderkind who will be talking about how an inner-city teen gets into coding, as well as the OSCON Awards and the wrap up of the event.

Then they pack it up and take it to the next venue — for OSCON, it’s Amsterdam in October. But on the schedule here in the U.S., it’s Texas Linux Fest in San Marcos next month.

In the words of one famous Texan, namely Robert Earl Keen, the road goes on forever and the party never ends….

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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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