great!" "Wow!" "We'll be back next year ... and the year
Those were just some of the comments from attendees and exhibitors
at the SCALE 4x event this weekend in Los Angeles. The expo drew
the faithful from such diverse locations as Sacramento, Baton Rouge and
Cincinnati in addition to more major metropolitan areas across the U.S.
and, of course, Southern California.
The growth in exhibits and sessions was obvious from the first
day. Exciting keynotes kicked off each day, leaving SCALErs
having to choose which of the four concurrent tracks to join.
Chris DiBona packed the room with his entertaining look into the
amazing journey Google has taken from a quasi-random pile of hardware
at Stanford in 1997 to its position as one of the most recognized names
on the Internet.
No small amount of the day one buzz centered around Adam
Leventhal's dtrace demonstration. Overheard: "I've never owned a
Sun box, but I want to get one just to use dtrace."
Who says that geeks don't have fun? Saturday night, SCALE
hosted some fun & games in the form of The Weakest Geek trivia
contest. A reception followed, with everyone rubbing elbows and
recapping the day over a cold one or two.
Alex Perry delivered a delightful and artfully-presented session on
Debian - the foundation for a plethora of new-comers to the list of
Linux distributions as well as being a solid and stable favorite in its
Charles Edge presented practical network security advice to a
well-attended session and drew a lot of interactive discussion from the
The much-anticipated talk by Hans Reiser was filled with details
about the Reiser4 file system. Hans let the group set the depth
gauge as he brought them into the inner circle, sharing his thoughts
and motivations about his work in addition to covering the features and
explored concepts such as dancing trees and global namespace.
One of my favorite sessions on day two was enthusiastically offered
by Steve Friedl on being a consultant. A roomful of both current
and hopeful consultants listened intently as Steve brought a mix of
humor and pragmatic advice gleaned from his 20- plus years in business
as an independent consultant. After the organizers finally had to
cut off questions in the overtime session to make room for the next
speaker, Steve was mobbed by those wanting to hear more.
Exhibit highlights included IBM and their partitioned iSeries
server running Linux, Novell (their stuffed Tux was probably the most
coveted show schwag, right behind the flashing LED Google pins) and LFS
Technologies (and their flight simulator which has become a perennial
favorite). I never got to talk to the Debian devs; the throng
around their booth was usually three deep. KnoppMyth once again
showed beautiful graphics with their packaged PVR solution.
XIOtech and Qualstar provided some eye candy for the hardware junkies
among the crowd. Meanwhile, in the email garden, those seductive
Shuttle boxes running Knoppix drew as much attention as the content
they were there to connect to.
The LUG area always seemed to be packed with Linux zealots, curious
noobs and many in between. A friendly welcome was always ready
for anyone who stopped by to chat.
By the time the show wound down Sunday afternoon, it seemed clear
that attendance had also exceeded previous events. The fourth
Southern California Linux Expo had accomplished its mission of bringing
users, businesses and developers together to share their unique
knowledge and experiences. How will they top all of this for
SCALE 5x? Look for more big names in the speaking sessions,
expanded exhibits and a larger venue. Or, join in the effort at
scale-planning and help us build a bigger and better SCALE for next
A closing quote from Michael Perry: "What I do know is that
without a place for the community of users to cuss and discuss, we lose
sight of the mission. I'll continue to come to SCALE when its 5x
See you at 5x."