Linuxfest Northwest 2007 Report
Linuxfest Northwest has been an annual event since 1999 held at Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham Washington which is approximately 90 miles North of Seattle. To allow for the largest participation, it is held on a weekend. Linuxfest Northwest 2007 was held on April 28-29th and was attended by approximately 900 people.
Warren Sanders, Donnie Lunder (BillingsLUG), Ken Dyke (HelenaLUG) and I (BozemanLUG) made the trip.
[Update: Added OpenVZ video!]
Linuxfest Northwest is sponsored by six different user groups:
BLUG - Bellingham, WA
KPLUG - Kitsap Peninsula
PLUG - Portland, OR
PSNUG - Puget Sound, WA
TAPCUG - Tacoma, WA
TACLUG - Tacoma, WA
The largest presentation room for Linuxfest Northwest has a capacity of 99 which severely limits audience size. As a result, Linuxfest Northwest has a sizable number of smaller, simultaneous presentations. How many presentations were there and how many of them were held at once? There were 8 total time slots (4 per day), with 12 presentations going on at any given time... so that is 96 total presentations. Of the 96 presentations, approximately 30 of them were repeated so that leaves 66 unique presentations... so if one didn't miss any of the time slots, one could see approximately 18% of the total content. Wow, with that much content... you really had to be picky. If interested, check out the complete presentation schedule.
Most of the presentations I attended were in classrooms with an attendance of 30 or less. Each classroom was nicely laid out with a podium, a projection system, whiteboards and fairly comfortable chairs and tables. I only noticed one presentation that was slightly over crowded (Nagios) so it was really an ideal learning environment.
The only nag I had was that there wasn't much time between presentations and as a result some of the presenters were doing a bit of last minute scrambling trying to get their laptops setup for their slides.
The content quality was fairly high with a good mixture of beginner and intermediate level material. There were several presentations designed for home users as well as others for sysadmin types like myself. The more general interest presentations were held in a larger room and included topics such as Open Source and Copyright, Software Patents, and Free Software into Libre Services, among others.
According to the exhibits list and exhibits map, there were approximately 48 booths including hardware vendors, software companies, services companies, and training outfits, the Free Software Foundation, and (of course) user groups. As you might expect, there was quite a bit of swag to be had.
Novell was handing out tee-shirts, stuffed mascots, and OpenSUSE DVDs. One of the LUGs was handing out Ubuntu and Kubuntu CDs. The FreeBSD Project had some install media and some horny head gear that seemed to be very popular. Oracle was giving away Unbreakable Linux DVDs. MySQL had some really nice pens and two different kinds of mints.
There was an exceptional display of Linux oriented books by Village Books. Too bad I was broke or I would have bought a few books.
PogoLinux and Silicon Mechanics were showing some of their sweet server hardware as well as giving out tee-shirts. Pogo Linux also had some really nice shopping bags that said Made to Run Linux (or something like that) which came in really handy to carry all of the swag.
MythTV had an awesome looking booth although I didn't actually get a chance to talk with them and I wish there had been a MythTV presentation.
Other booths of note were Second Life, Mono, Google, Zenoss, etc. Given all of the presentations and the fact that I wanted to actually eat during the lunch break, I didn't spend as much time as I would have liked visiting the exhibit area.
The most popular event at Linuxfest Northwest 2007 was the raffle where items were generously donated by sponsors to raise money for the next year's fest. This year there were a number of attractive items including a rack mount server, a Core Duo CPU, hard drives, Komodo licenses, CrossOver Linux Professional, tee-shirts books and other assorted goodies.
The raffle was held at the end of the day on Saturday and the vendor area was extremely crowded while they were drawing and announcing the raffle winners. Warren really wanted that rack mount server too.
There were a few aftershow parties at local bars but given the travel drain and lack of funds, I didn't attend any of them. :(
The Linuxfest Northwest folks really knew what they were doing. I applaud their planning. They had road signs that we found helpful. We even saw a street banner in downtown Bellingham. They even did a paper survey and published the results.
I really enjoyed the Email Garden they had setup... as I actually used it on both Saturday and Sunday to keep up with my email.
We all noticed this really hot chick who was wearing a Buni tee-shirt. Turns out she was a model that they had hired. I think she lead to an increase in the attendence of the Buni lead presentations. :)
I decided to take a video camera and record (almost all of) the presentations I attended. No one seemed to care although one presenter did give me a copyright statement. I fed all of the video into a computer and processed it... and it came out a lot better than I anticipated. Oddly enough, I was the only person at the event (that I'm aware of) who had a video camera... and I believe there was quite a stir on the event mailing list as a result... which I thought was weird since this was the 8th year of the event and surely someone had brought a video camera before?!?
Presentations I attended
- Load Balancing with Linux Virtual Server
Jed Reynolds, Bitratchet (not recorded)
- The (new) Fedora Project
Jesse Keating, Red Hat (partially recorded)
- Network Monitoring with Nagios
Taylor Dondich, GroundWork Open Source, Inc. (not recorded)
- BackupPC: Backups for the home and office
Ski Kacoroski, CCK Technology (recorded)
- Xen and the Art of Consolidation
Tom Eastep, HP / Shorewall (recorded)
- One Laptop Per Child
Jesse Keating, Red Hat (recorded)
Red Hat Magazine OLPC Videos vid1, vid2
- Linux Virtualization with OpenVZ
John Blanford, blug.org (recorded)
- What went wrong with my disaster recovery plan
Brian Martin, Martin Consulting Services (partially recorded)
I hope to write about several of the presentations in separate blog postings so stay tuned. I also encourage Warren, Donnie and Ken to write their own blog postings about the event and/or make comments.
The Road Trip
Ken Dyke drove up separately with his girlfriend. Warren and Donnie and I drove together. Thanks goes to Donnie for providing the vehicle. Warren and Donnie left Billings on Thursday and stayed the night at my house in Belgrade. Friday morning we all got up and started the long journey. According to a popular online mapping site, the trip from Billings to Bellingham is 902 miles so the round trip would be 1,804 miles... or about 26 hours of driving. Luckily we had some electronic gear with us and listened to some of an audio book as well as a lot of nice tunes. We hit a hotel about 9PM on Friday night so we were all set for Saturday and Sunday. After the show was over on Sunday we headed out of Bellinging and stayed overnight in Spokane... finishing up the trip home on Monday evening.
Linux Virtualizaiton with OpenVZ - John Blanford, blug.org
Linuxfest Northwest 2007 - Sunday, April 29th, 1:30PM
I was given permission by John to share this video I recorded.
Runtime: 1 hour and 18 minutes
BackupPC: Backups for the Home and Office - Ski Kacoroski, CCK Technology
Linuxfest Northwest 2007 - Saturday, April 28th, 3PM
I was given permission by Ski to share this video I recorded.
Runtime: 52 minutes and 18 seconds
One Laptop Per Child - Jesse Keating, Red Hat
Linuxfest Northwest 2007 - Sunday, April 29th, 11AM
I was given permission by Jesse to share this video that I recorded. Enjoy. The videos shown within this video are also available on the Red Hat Magazine site: vid1 and vid2. Oh, and here is Jesse's slides PDF if you are interested.
Runtime: 28 minutes and 9 seconds
Xen and the Art of Consolidation - Tom Eastep, HP/Shorewall
Linuxfest Northwest 2007 - Sunday, April 29th, 10AM
I was given permission by Tom to share this video. If desired, view his slides also.
Runtime: 51 minutes and 41 seconds
I have at least two more video presentations I will be adding within the next 24 hours.. and a couple more that I am awaiting approval from the presenters.