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Southern California Linux Expo(SCaLE 8x) Recap

I was there exhibiting and conducting a community training day

In a time when many tradeshows are experiencing lower then normal attendance the 8th Annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE 8x) had record attendance this past weekend in Los Angeles. I was there exhibiting and conducting a community training day for Zenoss and was very impressed by not only the quality of the program but the enthusiasm of the attendees.

Here are some of the highlights:

The Mini Conferences

On the Friday before the main SCaLE expo and speaking program starts many people hold mini-conferences and the SCaLE staff has been excellent at helping to organize and promote the events. I conducted a  Zenoss Community Day that Friday with phenomenal attendance and enjoyed meeting a great group of open source management users. I also peeked in on Ubucon which had a standing room only crowd of Ubuntu users. There were also quite a few other special events that seemed to be well attended.

The Keynotes

I got to watch both keynotes this year and they were both excellent. Here’s a little recap.

Karsten Wade’sBeing a Catalyst in Communities – The scientific facts about the open source way

Karsten’s a bona fide community builder helping drive the growth of the Fedora project, an open source distribution sponsored by Red Hat. His talk was a great overview of how to drive community participation and better yet, what results not to discount. He also announced the newly published free book, The Open Source Way – Creating and nurturing communities of contributors. A blue print of how to apply open source principles to communities and facilitate participation. In his presentation he made reference to an initiative sponsored by Red Hat,  Professors Open Source Summer Experience (POSSE), to help professors understand how to get their students involved in open source which was very cool.

He also made some interesting references to research done by Etienne Wenger on Communities of  Practice, which are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. Which is part of the science indicated in the time of the talk.

Tarus Balog’sSo, You Think You Want to Start an Open Source Business

Tarus is the lead of the OpenNMS project which he maintains in conjunction with a services business, The OpenNMS Group. He offers a very candid tale of his starting the OpenNMS group using the board game, Life, as a metaphor. It was very clever. Tarus and I share a common interest in open source IT management given the companies and projects with but we have some different philosophical views on how to develop those companies and communities. Despite that I really respect his passion for his project and his company. I thought his presentation was very well done and really enjoyed his talk.

Both keynotes are available here on UStream.

Sessions

I got to sit in on Stephen Spector’s presentation on Xen and had a lot of time to talk to him through out the show. Xen fascinates me as a open source virtualization technology it’s used everywhere and even serves as the infrastructure for Amazon EC2.

I was there to man the Zenoss booth so I missed out on a couple of scaling and cloud presentations but the word was they were all great:

  • Ari Lerner’s presentation on Pool Party. Written in ruby, PoolParty provides a nice domain specific language for describing a repeatable, declarative cloud computing infrastructure. Mainly focusing on amazon’s EC2 offering, the presentation will cover basic concepts of cloud computing, how PoolParty works and how you can get into the clouds in one command
  • Scaling Facebook via Open Source – Given their use of  of the following open source projects in highly available deployments I thought this would be interesting: Cassandra, Hive, Haystack, memcached, MySQL, PHP, Scribe, and Thrift.

If you are an open source fan or vendor and can make the trip, I highly recommend attending to SCale 9x next February.

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More Stories By Mark R. Hinkle

Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Soure Solutions at Citrix. He also is along-time open source expert and advocate. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine. Hinkle is also the author of the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration" (Thomson, 2006). His blog on open source, technology, and new media can be found at http://www.socializedsoftware.com.