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January 25th, 2016

SCALE 14X Is One for the Record Books

SCALE 14x Sunday

Whew. It had over 140 exhibitors, and over 185 sessions. It had just north of 3,600 people registered for the event. It had four days of peace, love and FOSS.

That was SCALE 14X.

But we’re getting ahead of Sunday’s story.

After the cacophony of Saturday night’s Weakest Geek — Ruth Suehle won her third, with talk of a dynasty in the air for that particular game — and the fun and games of, well, Game Night, Sunday rolled into Pasadena on a more quiet, thoughtful note.

Sarah Sharp at SCALE 14x

Sarah Sharp gave the Sunday SCALE 14X keynote to a full house.
CC-BY-4.0 Photo by Dennis Rex

Sarah Sharp gave a very insightful keynote to a full house on Sunday morning based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and how it dovetails into how that would improve FOSS. In his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”, Abraham Maslow defined a hierarchy of needs that must be met in order for a person to reach “self actualization.” Each level of the hierarchy of needs must be met before a person can begin to address the needs of the next level. In order for open source communities to improve diversity, they need to address the needs of underrepresented contributors systematically.

Under a blue Pasadena sky, a ham radio antenna sits between the session hall and the convention hall at the Pasadena Convention Center. Photo CC-BY-4.0 by Dennis Rex.

Under a blue Pasadena sky, a ham radio antenna sits between the session hall and the convention hall at the Pasadena Convention Center. Photo CC-BY-4.0 by Dennis Rex.

Later in the day, sessions continued at their usual pace and the Linux Installfest — which got 21 new users up and running on Linux on Saturday and added 12 on Sunday — brought more to the FOSS fold.

Exams were also a part of the day: The LPIC and BSDA exams were held throughout the day, and as a first for SCALE, the event offered the ham radio license exam for those in the area wishing to be operators. More than 20 exam takers went home with licenses.

Sunday, generally, is a slower day at any conference, and SCALE 14X was no exception. The upside to this — though, frankly, I’m having a hard time to come up with a “downside” to a slower pace — is that one gets to catch up with a variety of people they don’t normally see face-to-face unless they go to conferences. And this is truly one of the huge benefits of going to a Linux/FOSS conference: The conversations and friendships you strike up with like-minded folks, from the most celebrated to the most ordinary, are the things that tie FOSS together.

I say this often, but it bears repeating: If you’re within a day’s drive of a conference (or if you’re willing to fly somewhere), you should take the time to make it over to your nearest Linux/FOSS conference. You won’t regret it.

On a personal note, I want to thank my colleagues on the SCALE Team — the all-volunteer staff which makes SCALE 14X such a great show every year, like clockwork — and to thank those who exhibited, spoke, and attended the event. On that note, I hope to see everyone at SCALE 15X, which I can announce will return to its regular month of February in 2017.

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?

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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