[Ambassadors] SCALE 6X Trip Report

Tom Callaway tcallawa at redhat.com
Wed Feb 13 16:53:02 UTC 2008

Sitting here in Boston, watching the rain fall on the snowpiles in 36
degree weather, I wonder exactly why I left LA? :)

SCALE 6X was one of the most fun, most interesting community shows that
I have attended in quite some time. Friday was a day of specialized
tracks, one for Open Source in Education, one for Open Source in
Healthcare, and one for Women in Open Source. Since the expo floor
wasn't open until Saturday, I actually got to attend some of these
sessions. In particular, I attended several of the Women in Open Source
sessions, specifically to try to gain some perspective about Fedora, and
what we might do to encourage more women to contribute. In discussions,
I discovered that one of the women in attendance was actually interested
in Fedora at one point, only to be treated incredibly rudely on the
Fedora IRC channel, and give up. I wish I could say that this shocked
me, but sadly, I could easily believe it. As a result, I'm starting work
on a "IRC Code of Conduct", for the users and the ops of #fedora
channels. There is no reason why the Fedora community cannot treat each
other with respect and dignity.

Later in the show, that same woman came to me, and showed me that she
had installed Fedora on her laptop. I hope that she is willing to give
us another chance.

I also got to attend a session on Drupal, which looks really amazing,
even if it is in PHP. :) After the sessions, some of the speakers
invited me to join them for dinner, which was a lot of fun, and
introduced me to some well known folks in the Open Source community.
There are a lot of amazing people in our community, and I'm glad to get
the opportunity to know them better.

On Saturday, the expo floor opened, and I got to meet Thomas Chung, who
helped me man the Fedora booth. Thomas was great, he provided posters,
stickers, DVDs and T-Shirts, plus he was willing to talk to all
visitors, and encourage them to try Fedora 8. We were right next-door to
Red Hat, which was an excellent opportunity for us to show unity. Some
people still have the wrong idea about how Fedora and Red Hat are
connected, and it is always good when we can show them that we are a
team, not competitors. The traffic on Saturday was amazing, I must have
talked to hundreds of people about Fedora, Open Source, and Linux. It
feels really great to be able to talk to people about the strengths of
Fedora, about how Fedora stands for the best ideals of Free and Open
Source Software, and to get others excited as well. I took some time on
Saturday to do some podcast interviews, then I grabbed Joe ‘Zonker’
Brockmeier and we sat down and talked for an hour about the possibility
of distribution collaboration. I am positive that as time goes by (he
just started!), we'll be able to work together more, as opposed to
constantly reinventing the wheel. At one point in our conversation, Jono
Bacon dropped by to say hello, it was a little strange to have
representatives from Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSUSE talking together, but
a positive thing. Jono jokingly suggested that we should come to the
Ubuntu Developers conference, and I offered to give a talk on making
quality RPMs. ;) I didn't get to attend any keynotes, or any sessions on
Saturday, but I was most interested in Sunday's sessions. After the show
closed, I stuck my head in the reception, where SCALE was raffling off
all sorts of goodies for those people who had gone around and filled
their "ticket" with the various stamps from the vendor booths. After
dinner, I held the Fedora BOF. It was the last BOF slot, and we were
directly competing with the "Weakest Geek" competition, so I wasn't
expecting a very big turnout. However, about 10 people showed up, and we
talked in depth about the features for Fedora 9, as well as what people
wanted to see. Clint "Herlo" Savage stuck around for the BOF, and when
it was over, we moved down the hall (next to the bucket of beer) and
just kept talking. In fact, we drew a crowd of folks, who ended up
talking until 1:30 AM. We probably would have kept talking, but I was so
exhausted I had to call it a night. I think that I enjoy those hallway
conversations most of all.

On Sunday, there were several presentations I wanted to hear, so I
worked the booth during the keynote, then left to listen to Karen
Sandler from the SFLC talk about Legal Organizational Issues for Free
Software Products. It reminded me of how lucky Fedora has it, to be
protected by Red Hat's legal umbrella, but also how much of a nightmare
the "Fedora Foundation" would have been for us. After the presentation,
I went to lunch with Liana Linden, who does a lot of the trademark and
licensing policy for Linden Labs. We had a very interesting discussion
about the similarities between our two projects. In fact, she inspired
me to start hacking on the Second Life viewer code again (I got it
compiled on rawhide, but it doesn't work right...). I spent the rest of
the day in the Fedora booth, talking to the folks who came towards the
end, then packed up to go home.

Some folks who I want to thank:
* Thomas Chung (next time, I promise, I will let you buy me lunch)
* Barton George at Sun (my very first podcast interviewer)
* Danese Cooper at Intel (thank you for inviting me to dinner)
* Stormy Peters at OpenLogic (I want to steal your slide technique)
* Chris Blizzard (snowboarding in Syria!)
* Dirk Morris (next time, tell us that your food never showed up)
* Cat Allman at Google (next time, I promise you can have a seatbelt)
* Peter Kronowitt at Intel (anyone who shares their sake with me is a
friend in my book!)
* Zak Greant (you have the smallest business card ever)
* Clint Savage (how exactly did we get from dirty jokes to Ron Paul?)
* Joe Brockmeier (Smolt, Licensing, and de-macro-ization!)
* Beth Lynn Eicher (it takes bravery to speak out, thank you again)
* Liana Holmberg (Jono is your fanboy.)
* Everyone else who I have forgotten, that made SCALE so much fun.


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