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With First Keynote Announcements, SCALE 2023 Looks Like a ‘Must Attend’ Event

On Sunday, Scale made its first keynote reveal for 2023 with Arun Gupta, former CNCF chairperson, governing board member at OpenSSF, and VP and GM for Open Ecosystem at Intel. On Monday, Scale made its second keynote announcement: Ken Thompson, the creator of Unix and Go, will be a speaker.

Ken Thompson and Dinnis Ritchie at a computer in the 1970s
Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie at PDP-11/20 circa 1970.
Peter Hamer, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Southern California Linux Expo, better known as Scale (commonly printed as SCaLE), one of the big tent events on the Linux and open source conference circuit, is bouncing back from the lean Covid years very well.

Last year, back in the saddle after shutting down due to Covid lockdown in 2021, the event snagged as a keynote speaker none other than Vint Cerf, creator of TCP/IP and widely regarded as one of the, if not the, father of the internet. Who wouldn’t want to see that?

It’s hard to top that kind of tech A-lister, but it looks as if Scale 20x is on it’s way to doing it.

Arun Gupta

On Sunday, the folks at Scale — who release the names of their keynoters piecemeal — made its first of this year’s keynote reveals when they announced Arun Gupta.

Gupta is a great fit for Scale on several levels.

To begin with, he walks through the door with serious open source cred. In addition to spending a couple of years on Open Source Initiative’s Trademark Board (OSI is the organization that decides what is and is not open-source), he’s been involved with two key Linux Foundation projects. For more than five-and-a-half years he’s been with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, both as a board member and as the chairperson on the project’s governing board, and since June he’s been a member of OpenSSF’s governing board.

He’s also worked for a slew of companies heavily involved in open source, like Hewlett Packard, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Red Hat, and Amazon Web Services, just to hit the high points.

Right now he’s also very much a man-of-the-hour, due to his current position as VP and GM for Open Ecosystem at Intel. That’s important because for a year or so now, Intel has been investing in open source silicon, especially in RISC-V, the open source instruction set infrastructure that’s very much a rising star. During that time, Intel’s not only become a top-tier member of RISC-V Foundation, it’s entered into important partnerships with all of the top five companies working in RISC-V space.

With RISC-V predicted to be the biggest thing to happen to open source since Linux, you’re definitely going to want to hear what this guy has to say, even if his keynote doesn’t deal with RISC-V at all.

I add that last caveat because at this point we don’t know what he’ll be discussing at Scale (his page on the conference’s website says, “More information coming soon”). But whether he talks about RISC-V, the security work being done by OpenSSF, CNCF, all of the above, or something else entirely, it’ll be infomative.

Ken Thompson

Although it’s not up on Scale’s webpage yet, the conference’s Ilan Rabinovitch on Monday posted on LinkedIn that Ken Thompson is also onboard as a keynote speaker, and FOSS Force has been able to confirm that.

If you don’t know who Ken Thompson is, you’re either very young and not caught-up on computer tech’s rich history, or you just haven’t been paying attention.

In a nutshell, Thompson is most well known for his time at Bell Labs, where he created the original Unix operating system, and in the process created the B programming language. In the 1980s, still at Bell labs, he was one of the creators and early developers of the Plan 9 operating system, a distributed OS that since the beginning of the 21st century has been available under various open source licenses, currently under the MIT license.

Thompson has also been busy contributing to tech during the current century. In 2006, he started working for Google, where he co-developed the Go programming language.

In addition, he’s known for his work on regular expressions, the early text editors QED and ed, and the definition of the UTF-8 encoding.

If you like to play chess on your computer, you owe a debt of gratitude to Thompson. His work on computer chess includes the creation of endgame tablebases and the chess machine Belle.

In 1983, he and Dennis Ritchie, his long-time colleague at Bell Labs, won the Turing Award, “for their development of generic operating systems theory and specifically for the implementation of the UNIX operating system.”

SCaLE 20x will take place March 9-12, 2023 at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California. Registration is available through the conferences website.

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