February 1, 2016

Highlights of SCaLE 14x

featured-image 2016 started off with a bang. Linux dominated CES, where many Linux-based products were showcased. The first month of the year also brought us one of the largest community-driven open source events of North America -- the Southern California Linux Expo, aka SCaLE.

scale-teamThe 14th edition of this event was held at the Pasadena Convention Center in warm and sunny Pasadena, California on Jan. 21-24, 2016. What impressed me the most about the event was the “scale” of organization. SCaLE is similar to European FOSDEM in the sense that it’s fully organized by volunteers and managed by a committee including Hriday Balachandran, Larry Cafiero, Ilan Rabinovitch, Gareth J. Greenaway, and Ron Golan, who, along with about 100 other volunteers, make SCALE happen.

Mark Shuttleworth’s Keynote

This year, Canonical co-hosted their Ubucon Summit at SCaLE. A highlight of the first day of SCaLE was a keynote by Canonical and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth at Ubucon Summit.

markShuttleworth talked about celebrating the diversity in the open source world and mentioned how Ubuntu is growing to address different needs from different markets -- from IBM mainframes to drones to smart cars.

At night, Jon “maddog” Hall, Jono Bacon, and 14-year-old Keila Banks delivered separate presentations on the past, present, and future of Linux and open source. Hall and Bacon returned to the stage to remember Debian founder Ian Murdock who passed away recently. The night ended with a “Linux Sucks” stand-up routine by Bryan Lunduke.

Cory Doctorow Talks About DRM

The second day of the event began with a great talk by author and activist Cory Doctorow. He talked about the dangers of DRM and how it is adversely affecting our lives. He mentioned a new project by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called Apollo 1201, a mission to eliminate Digital Rights Management (DRM) within a decade. Doctorow said that he could see a lot of people using iPhones and MacBooks at the event. He said, you can’t be a purist; a vegetarian will meet a vegan. So, he urged such people to donate a portion of money that they spent on these devices to support organizations like EFF, FSF, and others so that they can continue their mission.

cory doctorow and swapnil bhartiyaThe night ended with Bad Voltage Live where we saw great performances by Jono Bacon, Bryan Lunduke, Stuart Langridge, and Jeremy Garcia.

On the third day, Mark Shuttleworth returned to the Ubucon Summit to deliver another keynote around free software in the age of app stores. He talked about how Snappy will make life easier for developers as well as users as everything will come packaged. He also talked about Juju as the “app store” for operations such as managing operations in infrastructure. He talked about how open source projects are changing the trend by innovating faster than proprietary companies. The day ended with the Weakest Geek and Game Night events.

Diversity in Open Source 

The fourth and the last day of the event started off with an inspirational talk by open source developer Sarah Sharp who talked about making efforts to increase diversity in open source projects.

sarah sharp at SCaLE 2016During the event, I met with many developers and executives from different companies. John Billings of Yelp told me how they run their whole operations on Linux and open source technologies. Brendan Gregg of Netflix explained their use of Linux and open source to power their massive operations. Christer Edwards told me how Adobe is using many Linux and open source technologies to power their marketing division. I also met Keila Banks, a 14-year-old girl who loves open source and delivered a talk at the event.


This was the first time I had attended SCaLE, and I loved it. I really liked the fact that the entire event was organized by volunteers. Additionally, it offered the whole package -- there were serious talks, there were celebrities, there were kids, infants, and even dogs. And, there was non-stop entertainment including stand-up routines, game night events, and Bad Voltage.

I am going back next year!

Click Here!