From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Monday, March 21, 2011

SCALE 9x 2011

Okay, I have to get this out there...  What a conference!

This is the most impressive end-user Linux conference I have ever attended.  My highest compliments to the organizers, attendees, and sponsors.  1800 people, just wild about Linux and free software.  I loved it!

I arrived on Thursday night, driving down from Santa Barbara with my colleague Clint, and we both attended the Friday sessions.  Friday was dedicated to a series of themed tracks, with tutorials and other somewhat hands-on sessions.  I spent most of the day in the Cloud track, listening to talks about OpenStack, Chef, and a number of other players in the Cloud space.  I learned a fair amount, and as always, I was quite pleased to see how pervasive the Ubuntu Server continues to be in the Cloud.  Few sessions, if any, failed to mention their use of Ubuntu in one form or another.  Our pulse continues to be quite strong in the cloud!

The meat of the conference took place over the weekend.  Unfortunately, I was only able to attend Saturday, as I flew out of LAX for London and then Cape Town, South Africa late Saturday evening (more on those trips in my personal blog) soon.

The first keynote was really, really interesting!  Leigh Honeywell talked about "Hackerspaces", a term with which I was only vaguely familiar.  During the Jaunty Distro Sprint in Berlin, we visited one of the more famous Hackerspaces in the world, C-Base.  I just thought it was a cool place to drink beer and hack in a warehouse decorated like a space station :-)  I didn't understand that this space was one of hundreds, covering most major cities on the globe.  Leigh talked about dozens of different hackerspaces, why they exist, what they're used for, how they're governed, and so on.  It has inspired me to check out the local Austin hackerspace sometime soon...

Remarkably, in Leigh's keynote, she mentioned my presentation on Byobu, Screen for Human Beings during her talk.  I certainly appreciated her unsolicited advertisement!  I don't know if it was related or not, but my talk was just after her keynote and was absolutely standing room only.  I counted 120 people before I started (and more trickled in during the talk).

A video of my talk should be available somewhere (?), though I haven't found it yet.  I really enjoyed the presentation.  It was basically 10 minutes of slides, and then 50 minutes of demonstration.  The audience was quite interactive, asking some great questions about GNU Screen and Byobu.  I'm giving a similar talk at the Texas Linux Fest in Austin in April, so if you missed the SCALE version, join us in Austin for an encore.

And if you're on the west coast and haven't been to SCALE, you really must get out there and see this conference.  I'm really impressed and hope to return again in the future.