Boston bound again.

As I write this, I’m sitting on a plane on my way to Boston, having rolled out of bed at the unwholesome hour of 4:00am and into Richmond to catch a 7:00am flight. What’s that you say? Another week of travel for Stickster? Yes indeed — much to my wife’s chagrin (and likely my children’s delight since I usually play the role of Mean Parent at home), my third week of travel out of the last month.

This time I’m heading back to Boston for the Red Hat Summit and JBossWorld, this year breaking all previous records for size and registration. At previous Summits I was a customer, and then after joining Red Hat, a speaker on behalf of Red Hat’s continued successful partnership with and investment in the Fedora Project. This year I’m working as a volunteer staff member, along with helping my esteemed coworkers deliver a joint presentation on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 product features and roadmap. I’ll be doing lots of exciting things from working the information booth to helping stuff bags for our Red Hat Gives Back charity drive to benefit the Boston arm of Cradles to Crayons.

In real terms, what that means is I’ll be exceptionally busy throughout the week.

I expect we’ll have decent Internet at the event. The main issue at the Summit when you’re working at the event isn’t getting connected, it’s having free time to sit down and actually do it! So don’t fret if you don’t hear back from me lickety-split as usual — I’ll be picking up and responding to email as quickly as schedule allows. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Summit without something fun to do at night, but since my volunteer work starts at 7:30am daily, I’ll probably need to put the kibosh on any late night pub crawl.

Hopefully I will get a chance to meet up with some of my pals from around the globe at the event, though. I’m sharing a room with Jared Smith, the current Fedora project leader, and I believe, if I have the layout of the site correct in my memory, that the new Fedora booth location won’t be far from where I’m working most of the Summit — so it will be easy to send people from the information booth to pick up Fedora media and helpful tips there.

In previous years, I arranged with a partner vendor to have Fedora branded Live USB keys, containing the latest tasty Fedora operating system, available for all the attendees. Last year, Summit attendance had grown so substantially from the year before that we actually ran out of keys! From what I understand, Fedora Live USB keys came together rather late this year, but should be available at the booth on Wednesday for attendees to pick up. And I believe there will be a lot more of them than last year — which is good since I hear attendance is up yet again, making for the biggest Summit event to date!

I believe the Fedora Live USB keys will have the latest Fedora 15 pre-release installed, which is a spectacular showcase for the very latest cool technology (including GNOME 3). That’s also a great way for attendees to see what’s happening upstream in the free software community. I’m happy to hear the media is going to be available, and hopefully the experience of getting ready for this year’s Summit will also pay off for Jared and the Fedora crew in organizing for next year’s event as well. Inevitably the guidance you get from someone on their experience in a certain situation is never quite as valuable or sticky as the experience you garner for yourself.

I brought my DSLR camera, and one way or another, I’m going to try to capture some of the event, whether that’s through photos, blogging, microblogging, or whatever I can squeeze into my schedule. I’ll be returning home late Friday night, and my plan is to take a much needed extra day of PTO on Monday to rest up for what promises to be a very busy summer.