Linux, musical road-dogging, and daily life by Paul W. Frields
UTOSC, Day 0-1.

UTOSC, Day 0-1.

Despite his incredibly busy schedule organizing stuff, Clint “herlo” Savage picked me up at the airport on Wednesday night, and summarily whisked us off to the Fiddler’s Elbow. We proceeded to tuck into a fantastic barbecue dinner with the rest of the UTOSC staff and presenters, complete with sweet corn and cobbler (more blueberries than in the Michael DeHaan version, to be honest).

I had time to hang out with a few of the Novell guys including one-man army of community management Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier. We discussed among other things our desire to get a mini-summit for RPM hackers together in the Czech Republic at one or both of Fedora’s and Novell’s developer events next month.

UPDATE: Since he just let the cat out of the bag at his keynote, we also discussed his “Dairy Council” idea for jointly marketing Linux. Just as Zima marketed their product by presenting it as an alternative to beer, Linux might also be marketed as an alternative to Windows, but only if we abandon for purposes of the campaign the idea of driving people to any one distro over another. Certainly an idea worth discussing and thinking about. Fedora Marketing — discuss!

After a too-brief and fitful sleep, I gave up and got up early to work on some email and brush up my keynote a bit (as noted previously, the Spevack method works!). The affable John Mizell came and picked me up at the hotel and we headed over to Salt Lake Community College to set up the booth. All our kit had arrived as promised and setup was a cinch. We had a couple XOs courtesy of OLPC, Red Hat, and Clint, which as always attracted every passing soul. They’re irresistible!

I spent the day telling people about Fedora — our mission, our philosophy, and some of the projects we have been and will be involved with. OLPC definitely fits into this picture, as you can see, which is why we love showing off these units at our booths.

I got some time to talk to some other Novell folks like Stephen Shaw, who’s working not just on Mono but also on some great new accessibility features. I have to admit — sorry Stephen, please forgive me — that fully half of what he said went completely over my head, but I know it had something to do with moving messages away from Bonobo and toward D-Bus. (Well, not everyone can be an ace developer.) Stephen’s wife Emily was one of the organizers for the UTOSC show, and just seems to have an immense talent for making everything seem easy.

We had a couple cancellations from would-be booth workers, so I ended up spending most of my time working there, but it was a great way to talk to a fantastic crowd of passers-by about how open source works and how they can get involved. That also was the focus of my keynote on Thursday night, in which I tried to springboard off UTOSC’s “How To” theme and talk about “How to Change the World.”

The conference has had over 500 registrants, which is more than double its attendance last year. The Utah Open Source Foundation and the various volunteer and user groups in this area have done a simply tremendous job on all the planning, organization, and execution. I, for one, won’t be surprised when UTOSC quickly becomes one of the defining FOSS community shows for the entire USA.

I’ll try to catch up tonight on Day 2.

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