This past weekend (Feb 20-22) was the 7th annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE). SCALE has grown larger, but is still very much a community, not corporate, event. Half of the exhibitors at SCALE are "dot-orgs", various Free & Open Source Software (FOSS) projects, Linux user groups, and other non- profit groups from the FOSS community who are offered free booths for their organizations.
SCALE has also become a family event. There were spouses, significant others, and plenty of kids. Both attendees and exhibitors brought their families, and it was nice to see the kids having fun playing games on Linux computers, and using their "One Laptop Per Child" OLPC computers.
There were also many commercial exhibitors. I felt that there were more companies using a hybrid FOSS/Commercial strategy at the show this year. And it was quite clear that Open Source is going strong despite the current weak economy. All of the commercial exhibitors I queried said that their business was either up or outright booming since the economy started weakening. This should come as little surprise. As the economy worsens and revenues drop, companies want to minimize capital expenditures and thus turn to FOSS for solutions at better prices.
The speakers this year were excellent as they have been in previous years. And for this year's event, SCALE received 150 applications for only about 45 speaking opportunities. Some notables among the speaker list include Stormy Peters from the Gnome Project, AEleen Frisch of Essential Systems Administration fame, Kir Kolyshkin from the OpenVZ virtualization project, Ron Gorodetzky from Digg Inc, Josh Berkus from PostgreSQL, and Ronald Minnich from the Coreboot project.
In fact, I like the expo so much that I've volunteered to help the organizers with next year's event. It's fantastic to be able to walk around and meet folks like Blars Blarson and Don Armstrong with the Debian project, or the developer of OpenWRT, Daniel. It's certainly a unique experience to be able to walk up to the developers of your favorite software programs and have a conversation face to face.
So block off time in February 2010 for next year's 8th annual Southern California Linux Expo. It's a great experience and you're guaranteed to find something new and interesting around every corner! It's a terrific bargain for a Linux event.
by High Mobley
President of q!Bang Solutions
q!Bang Solutions is an IT consulting firm specializing in convention center networking. It counts one of the world's largest software firms among its loyal customers.
High Mobley q!Bang Solutions 702.523.6786 mobile 702.446.0341 fax http://www.qbangsolutions.com firstname.lastname@example.org