Campus Party - USA


Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

May 13, 2011 GMT
Jon maddog Hall


A couple of times I have written about attending an event called “Campus Party”. Started in Spain more than a decade ago, it is like a LAN party, but a LAN party on steroids. Thousands of college age (and “a little older than college age”) technologists bring their favorite systems to a large convention hall and spend a week showing each other what they are doing and exchanging ideas. Easily one-quarter of my Facebook contacts are people I have met at various Campus Parties, or their friends.


In addition to this, various speakers from academia and industry come to address the “Campusarios” (as the attendees are called) and often meet on a less formal basis to see what the attendees are doing. People such as Tim Berners-Lee, former Vice President Al Gore, Vint Cerf, former astronauts of many countries, Stephen Hawking, and other thinkers and leaders in the technology industries.


Various areas of interest for the Campusarios are in hardware design and case “modding”, Free and Open Source Software, Multimedia, Astronomy, Gaming (both playing and creating), robotics, social media and others.


The Campusarios not only attend the event, they eat and sleep there. Set aside in the convention hall are thousands of small tents, typically donated by one of the sponsors, for the campusarios to sleep in when they are not on the LAN floor. Yes, showers are provided, although by the end of the week some of the attendees have pulled air mattresses beside their computers so they can “cat nap” to make up for lost sleeping time. Night becomes day at Campus Party.


In addition to all this there is a vendor floor where state-of-the-art equipment and products are available to be seen by the general public as well as the Campusarios.


While Campus Party started in Spain, it has since spread to Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, Venezuela and now it is coming to Silicon Valley in the United States, June of 2012.


From my viewpoint, while it is great and important to have Free Software conferences like LinuxCON and the various Linux Fests around, it is also important to take Free Software to an event that is more general, to introduce Free Software to people who are not currently using it, and who would not travel to a FOSS conference. Campus Party is a good venue to do that, and it is fun.


On Saturday, May 14th at 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. PDT there will be a TEDx Silicon Valley event. During this event, which will include many speakers on different topics, Belinda Galiano, one of the co-founders of Campus Party will be speaking on their plans to bring Campus Party to the United States. The TEDx event will be live streamed, so even people not in Silicon Valley can watch it.

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