Whew

scale12xDecompression can be a killer. A thousand pardons for taking so long to post about it, but the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 12X was nothing short of fantastic on a variety of levels.

No, that’s not hyperbole.

Lawrence Lessig absolutely nailed it in the Friday night keynote. Don’t take my word for it — watch the keynote on the SCALE 12X site here. Also, Lessig is going to need a little help fixing the government, so if you’re so inclined just send an email to SCALE@lessig.org with a description of the sort of commitment/skills you can offer, and if helpful, a description of your background.

The rest was, frankly, a well-choreographed blur of 90 or so talks over three days, punctuated by two days of exhibits with around 100 exhibitors and whirlwind of volunteers who rhetorically knocked it out of the park.

If you were there and want to relate your experience, go for it in the comments.

The CrunchBang Birds of a Feather meetup went remarkably well, with about 25 attendees coming to hear about Waldorf and with a lively discussion about #! following. Mario Burgos, who had been the sole volunteer to staff a booth that we unfortunately surrendered (it wouldn’t be fair to stick Mario in the booth by himself for the entire show), was incredibly helpful during the course of the BoF by outlining his experiences with CrunchBang. I am hoping I can get some help with a CrunchBang booth at Linux Fest Northwest in April — I will be staffing it and I would welcome any volunteers. Anyone in the Pacific Northwest going?

But back to the “knocking it out of the park” thing, it inspires complete and utter awe how much this show improves every year. It all boils down to one question.

What makes a great show like SCALE 12X?

Everyone: The volunteers, the staff, the speakers, the exhibitors and the sponsors. But most importantly, the attendees tie the ribbon on a fantastic expo, making it the complete and wonderful package it is.

The final tally: There was an uptick of roughly 10 percent in registrations for SCALE 12X, with a new record number of people enjoying three days of presentations, workshops and exhibits.

It was great to see old friends and to meet those I have talked to on numerous occasions but finally got to meet in person: Leslie Hawthorn, whose outstanding keynote was SRO, and Steven Rosenberg of the L.A. Daily News, who gave us a pre-show story in the Daily News’ constellation of Southern California publications.

[Yes, I compared SCALE 12X to the Daytona 500 in that article — an afterthought that the press picked up (shame on me — I should know better). But the comparison is a valid one: Like NASCAR holding its biggest race first, so FOSS also holds its most important event at the beginning of the year.]

As the publicity chair, the Publicity Team fired on all cylinders for the entire weekend: Hannah Anderson, who handled social media and floor interview duties as if she was born to do these things, kept everyone informed, and a team of photographers and videographers — Dennis Rex, Michelle Klein-Hass, Sam Is, and Sean McCabe — kept the photos and videos flowing throughout the show.

Graphics: Mike Hamanaka and Josh Adler did a fantastic job in the graphics department — Mike with the signage, badges and stickers, and Josh with the publications and T-shirt design. I got a lot of comments on these during the course of the show and it bears special mention.

Again, I would stress that if anyone has any of their own tales of SCALE 12X they’d like to share, please post them in the comments. As for me, I was stuck marshalling the media forces in the press room for a better part of the show and I got most news second- and third-hand, so some first-hand accounts would be appreciated.

ZaReason at SCALE 12X: As I mentioned previously, ZaReason gave me an UltraLap 440 to review right around the time SCALE 12X was happening, so the laptop got a baptism by fire, sort of, at the show. I am still in the process of giving it a month-long, long-term road test, so to speak, with CrunchBang being one of the distros I’m testing on it. I should point out that at the show, the laptop performed flawlessly as my main machine. More on this will be detailed in an upcoming review.

One more thing
: Some of the more astute CrunchBangers may have noticed my absence in the CrunchBang forums as of late. Much of this had to do with the advent of SCALE 12X, but I seem to have been thrown a curveball in my career over the last few months — without going into much detail but giving more info as not to “vaguebook” — that has made my job as a wire news editor at the newspaper for which I work “obsolete.” The long and short of it is it appears that with trends in the media field being what they are, my 37-year career as a journalist is coming to a close. The flip side is that, under the right conditions and with an astute firm having the wisdom to hire me, my tech career is beginning; all of which is to say that over the past few months I have been seeking a job, which takes away from other activities like being a mod on the forums. The good news for most (or bad news for some) is that this is temporary and I will be back once I get this straightened out.

Creative Commons License
Larry the CrunchBang Guy and all other blogs by Larry Cafiero are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

Crunchbang Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Wordpress button dbEntrance button Conky LibreOffice PostgreSQL identi.ca python scale 10x

Good news/bad news

scale12xOK, I could pun it up here: “I was weighed down by SCALE,” or some other eye-rolling line to explain why I haven’t written for the last couple of weeks. The fact of the matter is that I have been swamped with work on what may end up being the best show yet for the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 12X.

But first, a little news closer to home: A combination of my being unable to get materials together to accommodate the show — more than 2,000 attendees would require a lot of DVDs — as well as a lack of enough volunteers (those who said they’d be willing to pitch in — thanks and we’ll see you at the show) has caused me to pull the table this year. I’d like to be able to have folks there next year, and we’ll pick up, like we did last year, at Linux Fest Northwest in Bellingham, Washington, in April.

So my apologies there.

The good news is the Birds of a Feather meetup is still on. The BoF meetup is still scheduled for Friday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. Because 7 a.m. Pacific (-8) translates to 3 a.m. Saturday morning in England, I am still thinking of some nefarious way of getting Philip Newborough (corenominal) up at 3 a.m. to join us via Google Hangout.

The BoF will introduce folks to CrunchBang and I will have live CDs burned for those who want to give it a shot, as well as my collection of live USB sticks (no, you can’t keep the stick, but I’ll let you run CrunchBang with it, if need be).

The rest of the SCALE 12X show appears to be lining up as one for the ages.

No, that’s not hyperbole. And as scary as this prospect might be, I really need more than one of me to do the press work for SCALE 12X, which starts next week.

I’m going to need a bigger boat.

Why? Lawrence Lessig is coming to speak in the Friday night keynote. That’s right: A Friday night keynote to augment the Saturday morning kenote by Brendan Gregg and the Sunday morning keynote by Leslie Hawthorn. There aren’t three speakers who are better suited for a FOSS gathering than that trio.

That alone doesn’t address the great range of speakers throughout the course of the three days.

So I’ve been a little busy stoking the publicity fires for SCALE this year. You need to come — three days, more than 90 speakers, more than 100 exhibitors. All that equals one great event.

Also, this will be a test show this year as well. ZaReason has sent me an UltraLap 440 and I am going to put it through its paces for the show, writing about it here from time to time. I’ve already replaced Ubuntu 13.10 — what a surprise — on the UltraLap and CrunchBang is one of the distros which is going to be on it while it’s in my possession (until my daughter Mimi purloins the laptop somewhere along the line and installs the latest Linux Mint Cinnamon version, which is her favorite flavor).

[Insert Neil Young joke here: She is my Cinnamon Girl — I could be happy the rest of my life with a Cinnamon Girl. OK, I was just leaving.]

All of which is to say that while I have sort of been absent last week, expect for me to make up for it going forward with reports from SCALE.

You have been warned.

See you at SCALE 12X.

Creative Commons License
Larry the CrunchBang Guy and all other blogs by Larry Cafiero are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

Crunchbang Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Wordpress button dbEntrance button Conky LibreOffice PostgreSQL identi.ca python scale 10x

CrunchBang at SCALE 11X

One of the problems with working a show like the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 11X is that I am “working the show,” meaning I don’t get out to see talks or the exhibit floor or much of what makes SCALE 11X the great show that it is. Being the publicity traffic cop that guides reporters to various speakers and exhibitors while posting scores of social media posts and web page updates leaves yours truly with time to do little else. This is not a complaint, but rather an excuse for not having a more comprehensive report from the show.

I did, however, get to lead the CrunchBang Birds of a Feather session — a meetup of the curious and those who use CrunchBang, held on Saturday evening. The gathering of about 20 people — no more than five who either have used or currently use CrunchBang (me excluded) — attended and after my short presentation, a discussion about the advantages of different window managers atop Debian (Openbox is still the general favorite), when Waldorf will become official (when Wheezy does), and other discussions about what tweaks one can do to their CrunchBang install.

Once again, because no one volunteered to staff the CrunchBang booth at SCALE 11X last weekend in Los Angeles, I had to withdraw it (as mentioned before, because I work for SCALE I couldn’t staff it). But CrunchBang was well represented anyway at SCALE 11X both through the Birds of a Feather session and Philip Banks’ item as part of his blog, “20 Days of SCALE.”

So looking ahead to other shows in North America, we’ll definitely be setting up shop in Bellingham, Washington, with a booth at Linux Fest Northwest at the end of April, where I’ve also submitted a talk about CrunchBang (the best distro you’ve never heard of). Then it’s off to Austin, Texas, for Texas Linux Fest at the end of May, with the remote — remote — possibility of my actually boarding a plane (providing government officials allow me to) and flying to Charlotte, North Carolina, for SELF — that’s SouthEast LinuxFest (Linux in the GNU South — always loved that motto!) in June.

If you’re going to one of these shows and you think you can put in some time at the CrunchBang table, e-mail me at lcafiero-at-lavabit-dot-com.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research (RDR), a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment. RDR is based in Felton, California, USA.

Crunchbang Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Wordpress button dbEntrance button Scribus Conky LibreOffice PostgreSQL identi.ca python scale 10x

CrunchBang at LISA ’12

Along with my two trusty ThinkPads, I’m at the Large Installation System Administration 2012 conference in San Diego — known as LISA ’12, for those of you keeping score at home. At the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 11X booth at LISA ’12, the ThinkPads were put to work, both running CrunchBang.

One — the T42 with Waldorf testing 20121015 — ran the slide show on a large monitor after a harrowing half-hour of operator error which yours truly miraculously fixed to get it to display right. Once the display and the laptop played nicely together, the slide show went flawlessly all day without a hitch.

The second — a T60 with Waldorf testing 20121015 — ran the registration on for those who wanted to sign up to attend SCALE 11X in Los Angeles in February.

Both machines with CrunchBang ran flawlessly all day, and we get to do it all again tomorrow. Watch this space.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research (RDR), a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment. RDR is based in Felton, California, USA.

Crunchbang Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Wordpress button dbEntrance button Scribus Conky LibreOffice PostgreSQL identi.ca python scale 10x

Represent #! at SCALE

As some of you already know, I’m the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo, better known as SCALE or, in February’s version, SCALE 11X. If you didn’t know that, now you do.

Chairing the publicity committee allows me to enjoy the expo from the media room, herding the cats known as the tech media who come to report on this event, which — next to OSCON — is the most popular and well-attended Linux expo in North America. As an aside it’s also the largest volunteer-produced Linux expo in North America as well. But I digress.

So why am I telling you all this?

CrunchBang has a booth at SCALE 11X in February. I arranged for the booth, I’ll be making DVDs for the booth and I’ll provide some hardware (ThinkPads, to be sure) in order for folks to make live USBs, if they provide them to us, just like we did this year at the booth at Linux Fest Northwest in Bellingham, Washington. Stickers — like this one for Linux Fest Northwest back in April — will probably be part of the mix as well.

The only glitch is that I can’t staff the SCALE 11X because of the aforementioned cat-herding duties. So now I’m looking to the CrunchBangers out there who a.) are going to SCALE 11X in February, b.) are thinking about going to SCALE 11X in February and need some incentive to go, and c.) are going to/thinking about going to SCALE 11X and want to spend some time in the booth promoting CrunchBang.

So if anyone is interested, you can write to me at larry-at-socallinuxexpo.org and we’ll get you the exhibitors’ credentials and all the other stuff set up.

If you can’t make it to SCALE 11X, there’s always Linux Fest Northwest next year, too — we’re already signed up for the April show in Microsoft’s backyard in Bellingham.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research (RDR), a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment. RDR is based in Felton, California, USA.

Crunchbang Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Wordpress button dbEntrance button Scribus Conky LibreOffice PostgreSQL identi.ca python scale 10x

It’s showtime

As you read this — or as least, as I write this — the O’Reilly Open Source Conference, more commonly known as OSCON, is getting started in Portland, Oregon, and will be open for the better part of the week. OSCON is the largest Linux/Open Source conference in North America — though not the best (that still goes to the Southern California Linux Expo, or SCALE) — and if you’re within driving distance of Portland, you should take the time to go to OSCON this week.

I won’t be at OSCON this week representing CrunchBang for a couple of reasons: a.) I have news colleagues covering the Olympics in London and, with the staff being hacked down to bare bones on the news desk, I have to stay here, and b.) because OSCON leans more toward the corporate and less toward the hackers, the spaces for the “dot-org” section were cut, and they were filled very early, leaving folks like Fedora and Ubuntu scrambling for space when they were passed over in the first round of “dot-org” choices. No doubt that’s been settled by corporate masters up a few rungs on the Red Hat and Canonical ladders respectively. But the chances are that we would have probably been shut out of booth space this year. But next year . . .

However, if you’re in the Southwest — Texas or thereabouts — you might want to check out Texas Linux Fest in San Antonio on Aug. 3-4. Again, I’ll be trapped at my desk and won’t be attending, but TXLF is a growing show that is gaining popularity, and if you’re in the area, you should take the time to go.

The reason I bring these shows up is that I think everyone who is near one — by “near” I mean within either driving or bus/train distance over the course of, say, a day’s travel — should go. You learn a lot at the sessions, you get to see vendors who, more times than not, give you more swag than you can carry (for example, I have not bought a T-shirt since 2006: True story) and, of course, you get to meet and talk to other Linux users about about FOSS programs and distros — especially CrunchBang — if the topic is raised.

I don’t know what’s going on in Europe — FOSDEM has passed if I understand correctly, and I know there are other shows there during the course of the year — but I have heard rumor (or rumour, since it’s happening in the UK) that our own Philip Newborough has been coerced into attending OggCamp in Liverpool sometime next month (and presenting, maybe?).

Other than talking to LUGs about CrunchBang for the rest of the year, I think my schedule for expos and shows this year is done. I don’t fly — my arms get tired — and so I’m going to have to miss shows later in the year, like Ohio Linux Fest, but we’ll have a booth at SCALE and Linux Fest Northwest next year. If you’re in the area and want to work the CrunchBang booth in Los Angeles or Bellingham, Washington (north of Seattle), let me know.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

Crunchbang Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Wordpress button dbEntrance button Scribus Conky LibreOffice PostgreSQL identi.ca python scale 10x

Ready for Linux Fest Northwest

The CrunchBang disks are burned, the stickers are being printed up, and the presentation still needs tweaking, but for all intents and purposes I’m ready for Linux Fest Northwest, which takes place this weekend at Bellingham Technical College.

Next to the Southern California Linux Expo — which will turn it up to 11 at SCALE 11X in February 2013* — Linux Fest Northwest is the best show on the West Coast. Collectively and in choral harmony, I can hear all of you saying, “What about OSCON?” True, OSCON is the biggest of the West Coast shows, bringing out all the big guns, both in FOSS personalities as well as in software and hardware. There are many excellent presentations offered every year at OSCON, however with the show growing to the commercial entity that it has become, there’s a slickness to it that has a tendency to leave many visitors adrift in a vast sea of marketing.

Not so Linux Fest Northwest: It’s in its 11th year in Bellingham, Washington — essentially Microsoft’s backyard — and from the ground up it an all-community affair, completely run with a volunteer staff that puts on an outstanding show on what seems to be the Pacific Northwest’s best weekend of weather. The classrooms at Bellingham Technical College are ideal for presentations and the expo floor is big enough to be interesting but small enough not to be too overwhelming.

I’ll be presenting on Saturday morning — Greg DeKoenigsberg and I switched times so he could give his presentation on Sunday — on “An Intro to CrunchBang” in Haskell 103. Be there or be square. Also there’s a CrunchBang Birds of a Feather meetup on Sunday morning as well. The CrunchBang booth — which will also feature some ZaReason hardware — will be in the center of the room diagonally across from where the raffle will take place.

So if you’re in the Pacific Northwest, you should head over to Linux Fest Northwest. You can sign up at the LFNW link above (it’s free, but you have to sign up for a badge), and head over to the show.

See you there.

*Truth in advertising: I have a vested interest in SCALE since I’m the publicity chair. But even if I wasn’t, I’d still think SCALE is the best show on the West Coast. Frankly, I think it’s the best show in the hemisphere and I’m beyond proud to be a part of it.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

Crunchbang Add to Technorati Favorites EFF Binary Freedom Wordpress button dbEntrance button Scribus Conky LibreOffice PostgreSQL identi.ca python scale 10x