Sunday, September 20, 2009

Atlanta LinuxFest the Day After

Wow, I'm still in a daze. Atlanta LinuxFest (ALF) was an incredible event. It was held at the IBM facility in Atlanta on Saturday.

Some background first. My wife Amber (akgraner) was on the planning team, so I was watching this event come together from the periphery. I would hear her on planning calls and I never really understood what it takes to put an event like this together. My hats is off to all involved, I can say it gave me a new appreciation for all the work that goes into community events like this.

This was ALF's 2nd year and as such was expected to be small. It was far from that, they had over 600 registrations and at any given time during the event there were 300+ people at the event. This event was planned by 4 people with limited resources and they pulled off one hell of a LinuxFest.

The speaker line up was diverse and impressive, there was something for everyone. Additionally Amber had organized an UbuCon and it was a big hit. They had sessions topics like "Community Leadership" & "Burnout", every time I went by the UbuCon area it was packed and they had some intense discussions going on.

The Ubuntu Kernel Team took advantage of the event to get some Karmic testing done on the plethora of laptops/note/netbooks that were there. Manjo Iyer from the Kernel Team ran the testing. I don't have the exact numbers of what makes and models were tested (we still have to sift thru the data), I do believe it was well over 100 people and some had 3 & 4 machines with them. Lots of bugs were filed. I want to put out a heartfelt "Thank You" for everyone that came by for testing. You guys will make Karmic a far better release.

I gave a talk on Ubuntu, Canonical & the Ubuntu Kernel Team. I had given a talk at the Southeast LinuxFest back in June and received lots of feed back about the content. I was surprised to learn that people wanted to know about Canonical, a bit about it's structure and how Ubuntu fits in. So I incorporated lots of that back into the presentation. I also stressed how the Kernel Team is looking to expand its community, and if you want to participate you don't have to be a kernel developer, or even a programmer! We welcome anyone who is willing to test, triage or help us organize. Like in any community we need people with diverse skill sets.

Steve Conklin of the Ubuntu Kernel Team gave a talk called "Debugging the Kernel". This talk originated from another Kernel Team member Colin King (cking). The talk is basically a collection of all the wild & useful debugging techniques that Colin has come up with over the last few years.

John Johansen & Stefan Bader from the Ubuntu Kernel Team gave a rehash of Greg Kroah-Hartman's "Write a real working Linux driver" tutorial. The tutorial consisted of a Ubuntu USB live stick tricked out with compilers, headers and git tree. Users would boot the live stick so that they would have a consistent development environment. John then walked them through the basics of git, kernel device drivers and in the end the users wrote a device driver that would work with a GoTemp USB Thermometer. They had 16 thermometer devices and in the end the temperature could be read by reading a file in the /sys file system. Each session was full, I just wish we had more devices so that everyone would have had the chance to fully participate, not just watch.

Dan Chen of Ubuntu Audio fame gave a great talk on debugging audio. Judging by the size of the crowd in his talk, audio is still an issue with quite a few users.

Suse, Red Hat & Fedora were all there with booths and talks as well, however I would say that the mind share at the event went to Ubutnu. You couldn't turn around without hearing the Ubuntu login music, seeing Ubuntu stickers, banners, t-shirts everywhere!!!!

Surprisingly quite a few folks have been running Karmic in some state of Alpha for quite a while!

The day started with a Video Podcast from Mark Shuttleworth specifically for the event. Mark was about to announce the name of 10.04 when they cut the video with a slide that said "Find out at the UbuCon!"... dooh! It left everyone hanging for about another hour.

In the UbuCon area they had monitor set up with people crowed all around waiting for the announcement. They played the whole video from start to finish and finally after much anticipation, Mark announced that 10.04 would be called Lucid Lynx. This was quite a departure from other "naming announcements" where he would send out an email or post it on his blog. It was really special that it was announced at a UbuCon at a community event!

There is so much more, but I'll leave that for the other blogers... I have to catch a plane on my way to LinuxCon & Linux Plumbers in Portland!

~pete

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