Back to the Future - Past events in Ohio and future events in Ontario, Canada


Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Oct 20, 2008 GMT
Jon maddog Hall

In a lot of ways it is nice to write for a magazine family like Linux New Media that is a media sponsor of so many events. I get to see a lot of the events, and it encourages me to go to more of the talks than I would normally do. Normally I talk to people in the hallways and see one or two talks. When I represent the magazine at these events, I try to see more of the talks.

October 11th was the sixth annual Free and Open Source Conference and Expo in Columbus Ohio (also know as the "Ohio LinuxFest) and as always, it was a fine community event. Over 1000 people attended, and with both the issues of the economy and high gas prices, was more than some of the event planners anticipated. I met some people who had driven more than ten hours to get to the Fest, many car-pooling with friends to save money.

This is what I like most about events like the Ohio event....the sense of "family" that they create. And when I talk about "family", I met some of the youngest FOSS people that I have ever seen at this event. Some were still being carried in their parent's arms.

Not quite that young, but an interesting study, was Bdale Garbee's daughter Elizabeth. Many of you are familiar with Bdale, as he has been in FOSS a long time, was a Debian project leader for a while, is the President of Software in the Public Interest, is the Chief Linux Technologist for HP, and is truly a nice guy. Bdale had often talked about his daughter and her use of Linux, so this time it was Elizabeth's turn to talk about how she had been using Linux and the issues with trying to use it in school (mostly political issues) and how she had started helping her father test installs of Debian at the age of ten.

Paul Ferris talked about "managing your Free Software career", which stressed networking with others and keeping those networks open.

Don Vosburg gave a talk on Virtualization using Xen. I am a huge fan of virtualization, particularly para-virtualization, so I attended Don's talk to see if I could pick up a few tips, and (of course) there is always something new to learn.

The Ohio Linux fest had three tracks, with two of them being for talks and one track for sponsor discussions. I only saw about one-sixth of the things I wanted to see, but for an event that has traditionally been run solely from donations (both sponsor and attendee), it is a fantastic event. I would be remiss not to mention the tutorials offered on Friday by LOPSA, and the LPI testing done on Sunday at reduced prices.

A full list of the speakers and the abstracts for their talks are here

At the top of the page is a link that allows you to download the slides for some of the talks (including mine on "sustainable computing".

WAIT! Another "Linux Fest"? Yes, this one in Toronto, Canada on October 25th! Not affiliated with the Ohio Linux Fest, but acknowledged to have been patterned after it, the Ontario Linux Fest ( is in its second year and going strong. The Ontario Linux Fest is also immediately after an event at Seneca College in Toronto being held October 23rd and 24th called the "Free Software and Open Source Symposium (, so this next weekend is going to be rocking for the people of Ontario, Canada.

First we can talk about FSOSS, the event at Seneca College in Toronto, Canada. This event has been going on for seven years, in a university that is heavily entrenched in Free Software. They have four tracks on the first day, including a track of panels about Free Software in Education (this is a university, after all), and three tracks on the second day as well as Workshops each of the two days. I am on a panel the first day, talking about the community's perspective on free software in education, and I give a talk about free software in telephony the second day, but I know I will also be spending time in some of the other talks for the event. This event has a walk-in registration fee of 100 CAD.

The Ontario Linux Fest is held on Saturday, October 25th. It has a set of speakers that range from Jeremy Allison of Samba fame to Bradley Kuhn, of the Software Freedom Conservatory and several speakers on Intellectual Property and Free Software....some talks that I will be attending.
I will be giving two talks, an updated talk on "Sustainable Computing" which I had given at the Ohio Linux Fest, and a talk on "Making Money with Free Software", a topic that always seems to be of interest.

The Ontario Linux Fest has an online registration fee of CAD 40 (until October 22nd) and CAD 60 at the door.

Peter Salus will also be giving a talk at the Ontario Linux Fest on the History of Linux. I wonder if he will be talking about the futures of Free Software, so I could say that I had heard about Xen in Ohio and Zen in Ontario?

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