Utah Open Source Conference 2008
The 2008 Utah Open Source Conference was amazing. It was quite literally too legitimate to quitimate. Last year was great but everything this year was double that. Twice as professional, twice as engaging, twice as many high profile keynote speakers, and more than twice the attendance (an undisclosed number >= 500).
Paul Frields, Fedora Project Leader and Joe Brockmeier, openSUSE Community Manager both flew out to keynote at the conference. Novell brought up some of the Hack Week participants and UTOS arranged a room for us to hack in. In fact Novell was, appropriately (this is Utah), the best represented company at the conference with 10 presenters and many more attendees.
We wanted to get Jono Bacon, Ubuntu Community Manager to keynote as well but he declined. In fact Canonical didn't deign to represent themselves at all. Ubuntu Utah pulled something together for a booth but Canonical didn't even send pressed CDs.
Panel: Open Source And Government. Phil Windley, former CIO of the State of Utah and Pete Ashdown, Founder and CEO of Xmission (Utah's First and Best ISP) discussed everything from transparency in legislation to voting machines. Pete talked about how he solicited outside contribution to his policies during his United States Senate campaign using a Wiki.
Fedora: The Future First. Paul Frields discussed the history and goals of the Fedora Project as well as their completely open source infrastructure and community policies. Did you know that Fedora has their own VoIP system? I didn't. They can schedule conference calls, have them recorded, and post them publicly so that everything they do is in the open. Cool stuff.
Banshee Media Player. Aaron Bockover was too tired to be coherent but we love him anyway and the software, new features, and T-shirts spoke for themselves. I wish I'd got a photo of him drinking that nasty Sugar Free ROCKSTAR at the podium.
The Free Content Business Model. Howard Tayler is a web cartoonist and small business owner. He's also a brilliant speaker. If you missed this I feel sorry for you. Excellent points about how to monetize something you are comitted to keep free.
Dialplans for Dummies: An introduction to the Asterisk Dialplan. Jared Smith is hilarious. To decide who would get a copy of his book he had those who wanted it do a rock, paper, scissors tournament. After a vigorous and tense last round the loser sadly handed the book over to the winner, and Jared pulled out another copy for the loser. Perhaps that didn't sound as funny as it was. You should have been there. Jared is also a great presenter, and Asterisk is awesome.
openSUSE Build Service
I gave a hands-on presentation on the openSUSE Build Service. This was my first time presenting at a conference but I thought it went very well. All the demos were successful and I was able to cover everything I had planned in the allotted time. I even got to demo SuSE Studio. An audio-only recording should be posted at the conference website soon. If I had known there wouldn't be video I would have setup a screen recorder.
Update: Audio now available on Utah Open Source Podcast. I'm pretty sure my voice is not actually that low.
One of the attendees asked me where he can learn more about RPM. It is lamentable that there are no published guides written in the last 5 years. Here are some links that should help.
The Fedora RPM Guide - Probably the most up to date
RPM API Documentation (Related Pages) - Not very accessible, but useful
SUSE Package Conventions - SuSE specific and outdated in parts
Maximum RPM - Notoriously outdated, but still relevant
Cross Distribution Package HOWTO - OBS specific
There's also the SuSE Packager's Manual but this appears to be an internal document and is admittedly very specific to SuSE.