June 16, 2009

SELF Success

Article Source Dissociated Press
June 16, 2009, 12:35 pm

Last weekend, another Linuxfest was born in Clemson, South Carolina. SouthEast LinuxFest was held at Clemson University in South Carolina on Saturday, and the organizers gave birth to a happy and healthy baby ‘fest that weighed in at around 500 people (give or take).

james_daren.jpgI’d say that it was very well done for a first-time event, but that’d be damning SELF with faint praise. It was well done, period. The fact that the organizers pulled it off so smoothly the first time around, that’s just doubly impressive. I got to see the event from the sponsor, speaker, attendee, and exhibitor angles — and at every turn, they were great to work with and delivered more than they promised.

The turnout for the event was fantastic. The crowd was lively and the place was packed (but not over-crowded) the entire day. The exhibit hall was pretty modest, but we had steady traffic at the openSUSE table most of the day and plenty of people who came by to get openSUSE DVDs and swag, and to talk about openSUSE and the openSUSE Education project.

And the openSUSE Education project was very well represented. James Tremblay and his brother Daren came out to man the booth, along with Bob Ghosh from OS4Ed. They did a five-hour drive to come and represent the green at the show, and did a great job of demonstrating openSUSE and the Education project at the table all day. I also had time to talk to James about openSUSE Edu and what we can do to help promote openSUSE and education throughout the next year. We catch up in IRC from time to time, but nothing beats actually having time to sit down and talk to someone face to face.

img_1509-300x225.jpgI was lucky enough to have the opportunity to give the morning keynote for SELF, and I have to say it was a blast. The topic for SELF was “Reaching the Masses,” and I think it went over pretty well. I got a bunch of good questions and comments during and after the talk, which I’ll incorporate if I do it again.

The room was nearly full and the audience was a lot of fun — and didn’t seem to mind me chucking Geekos and Penguins at them at regular intervals. :-) (Getting to throw things at random people while talking is one of the great perks of this job…)

The rest of the schedule was fantastic. My friend Paul Frields from Fedora gave the closing keynote, and they also had Chris DiBona from Google, Clint Savage, Keith Bergelt from OIN (who gave a great talk on patents), Wendy Seltzer, Richard Weait from Open Street Map & Ontario Linux Fest.

The organizers took great care of the speakers and exhibitors, getting us lunch and checking in often to see if we had what we needed.

At the end of the day, I had the chance to spend some time talking to the Dual Core guys. With any luck, we’ll get an openSUSE rap in time for 11.2. I’d love to ship a Dual Core Ogg on the DVDs in November.

If you didn’t make it to SELF, you really missed a great ‘fest. It’s right up there with Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE), Linuxfest Northwest (LFNW), and Ohio Linuxfest. The location was pretty close to perfect for the size crowd that turned up. The exhibit hall was a good fit this year, but I suspect they’re going to have to find a bigger boat next year.

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