Linux, musical road-dogging, and daily life by Paul W. Frields
UTOSC, Day 3.

UTOSC, Day 3.

The last day of UTOSC was Family Day, so by midday the conference was under invasion by munchkins! The XOs we brought were a big hit, and thanks to UTOSC having a “Try It” hands-on lab, I know that many children got their first glance at the XO and Sugar.

Joe Brockmeier and I had fun doing a shirt exchange, so somewhere out there is a photo of me in my Banshee (sponsored by Novell) shirt and him in a Fedora Ambassadors polo. And with all the small people around, we were finally able to pass out all the size-S shirts we had set aside.

I kicked myself in the morning because I was still so exhausted from poor sleep that I didn’t have my schedule straight until well until the 9:00 hour, and by then I had missed Christer Edwards’ lecture. It would have been really good to be there but I ended up helping set up our booth instead, and meeting some of the conference attendees and talking to them about Fedora and how to get involved.

I did get to see Andrew Shafer talking about Puppet, which was a cool session. He actually name-dropped Fedora a bit there because I had told him our admins were using it quite a bit. Andrew had made a point of introducing himself after my keynote on Thursday night, and had told me how there were a number of companies that had dropped extremely expensive installations of commercial software to move to Puppet, given its flexibility and power. That turned out to be more or less a constant theme during this conference for those people showing off software and solutions from the FOSS world.

My friend Jared Smith had arrived on Thursday night, and he and I team-taught a session on DocBook XML and Publican, the new DocBook publishing toolchain that Red Hat recently released. This was some of the most fun I had the entire conference, because Jared and I have pretty complementary styles, and try to keep the audience entertained and engaged. Team-teaching is especially rewarding because when you absolutely trust your partner, one person can lead the lecture while the other watches for questions, or one person can answer while the other is setting up a quick demo on the computer. I think the session was a hit and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

By the afternoon things were winding down, and we had exhausted most of our supply of buttons, t-shirts, and even a few USB sticks. UTOSC had a local joint cater some fantastic barbecue for lunch, which I hadn’t expected to even want, given the previous night’s “Death By Meat” experience at Tucano’s — but it was delicious! I also met Jared’s parents, who came by to see the conference, and the families of some of the other organizers.

Once things wound down around 5:00, it was time to disassemble everything, put the banners and extra schwag away, and pack it up for Clint to send on to the next event. We also had an ad-hoc GPG key signing in one of the lab rooms, and had some good laughs as all the stress of the event evaporated.

In the evening, once most of the work was done, we gathered in one of the upstairs rooms to play board games. We had some of the leftover barbecue for dinner, and I ended up playing Carcassonne with Clint, Jeff, Chris, and Al. I was completely lost at the beginning but as the game went on I did start to understand it, as they had predicted. Unfortunately I was so tired that I wasn’t much of a challenger, nor really at my best as far as being fit company.

When Jeff got me back to the hotel at about 10pm, I got mostly packed and then finally had my first good night’s sleep. In the morning it was off to the airport early, where I happened to see the infamous Joe B. again — poor Joe was held up by TSA, who insisted on searching through his entire arsenal of technological doodads. (Oops, I said “arsenal,” no joking allowed!)

Joe caught up with me right after I got some coffee and we had a nice breakfast together. We thought it would be really amusing to get some sort of crazy rumor mill started in advance of our next releases. I agreed as long as Fedora’s could involve Salma Hayek, the thinking being that sometimes the more fantastic the lie, the more people are willing to swallow it.

I was home in time to see the kids and help conduct bedtime, and then Eleya and I just went into potato mode, and watched the first few episodes of Heroes season 2 that she had picked up on DVD.

Now I’m going to actually get away from the keyboard and enjoy the last day of the kids’ summer vacation and the first half of my “weekend.”


  1. Max

    I played Carcassonne once, about 5 or 6 years ago, with a bunch of people who had also never played before. We were all awful, but I remember thinking that it was a brilliant game, with lots of deep strategy.

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