SCALE 9X across the snowy horizon

Community Linux show still sets the bar for Linux events

Slammed by a blizzard, surrounded by bored kids, and achingly tired of what Winter has brought me this year, it's enough to make me say, "Calgon, take me away!"

Er, metaphorically speaking, of course.

Still, there is some well-deserved relief in sight: this year, after a rather long hiatus, I will be attending the ninth edition of the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) in the has-to-warmer-than-Indiana city of Los Angeles.

SCALE has the distinction of being the first "community" trade show I ever attended, and because of that it holds as a standard for what community shows should be. This is the community event that sets a bar for many of the other events to reach, with strong tracks for users and developers.

Vendors and experts from Linux and open source deliver top-notch content, at a level that belies the "amateur" label one might put on a community-organized show. There's nothing amateur about SCALE.

I'm going to be looking forward to hitting the Open Source Software in Education track on Saturday, given my current gig teaching at Notre Dame. I may break off to hear Quim Gil talk on "The Foundations of the MeeGo Project" and I'm a little bummed that I won't get in on time to hear the Friday presentation from Amber Graner and Robyn Bergeron on "Marketing Your Linux Distribution" (though Bergeron may be relieved, since I hassled her at her Ohio LinuxFest presentation last year).

Two keynotes highlight SCALE this year: Canonical CEO Jane Silber's Sunday morning talk on "Cloud for Human Beings," and HackLab.TO President and co-Founder Leigh Honeywell's Saturday session on "Hackerspaces and Free Software."

That both keynotes are being led by women would be notable, except this is SCALE, and they've been ahead of the curve on community issues for a long time. That, to me, is indicative of what makes this show click: it's not about the marketing pitches which project has more mojo--it's about showcasing what's really going on around the Linux community by the people who work in it every day.

So, if you are on the West Coast, swing by SCALE 9X on February 25-27 at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport. Or do like I'm doing and jump on a plane to escape the desolate winter wasteland. Either way, you're in for a positive community experience.

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