Linux conference season 2016 kicks off with SCaLE and FOSDEM

A look ahead at some upcoming Linux shows.

Linux conference 2016 SCaLE FOSDEM Linux Fest Northwest
Francois Schnell via Creative Commons

Two-Thousand and Sixteen is well underway and the first major Linux conferences of the year are upon us!

In fact, as I type this, I am washing my final load of laundry as I pack to fly down to the Southern California Linux Expo. SCaLE will take place January 21st through 24th in sunny Pasadena, California (side note: it is currently raining and cold where I’m at. Because I don’t live in Pasadena, California.).

And I absolutely hate flying. Very little can get me to step foot within one of those frozen, metal tubes of death. But a good Linux festival can. And SCaLE is extraordinarily good. Thousands of Linux and Free Software nerds with four days of amazing sessions and some truly spectacular evening entertainment.

OK. Full disclosure. I’m part of that evening entertainment on the first two nights of the conference. So… sure. I might be just a tad biased here. But I wouldn’t spend this much time putting shows together to present at a conference unless that conference was truly stellar. Unless that conference was worth it. SCaLE is.

Plus, I’m going to get the chance to see presentations from the likes of Cory Doctorow, Mark Shuttleworth, Sarah Sharp, and Jon “Maddog” Hall (and a slew of others who I’d love to see speak if I can find the time).

But, as awesome as it is, SCaLE isn’t the only conference kicking off at the end of January. On the 31st, FOSDEM begins in Brussels. Which, according to the globe on my desk (yeah, I still have one of those) is not terribly close to Pasadena, California. Which means, unfortunately, I’m not going to make it to FOSDEM.

But it’s OK. I’ve never been to FOSDEM, so I won’t know what I’m missing.

It’s not that I wouldn’t love to go; I’ve wanted to for the last several years. It’s just… so far away from me! That’s like… one million hours trapped in one of those metal death tubes I mentioned earlier. One day, I’m sure, I’ll make it. And, if it’s as great as I’ve heard – and I’ve heard it a lot – I’ll probably be hooked and need to start going every year.

Back here on the west coast of North America, there’s another festival coming up in a few months in a small city just South of the Canadian border. Linux Fest Northwest, April 23rd and 24th in Bellingham (north of Seattle), has been a yearly staple of mine. They’re taking submissions for sessions until February 10th, by the way.

It’s a unique festival. It’s big, no doubt, with attendance of around 1,500 people every year. Yet, it feels… small. It feels like a tiny community tech festival. The kind where 30 people set up tables, half as an excuse to hang out and swap stories. There’s even an annual garage sale. Not even joking. A Linux-focused garage sale with 1,500 people attending.

It’s absolutely insane.

But in a very good way. They also don’t do “keynotes.” Ever. Every speaker is the same at Linux Fest Northwest. It’s really kind of cool. And I’ll definitely be there again this year.

There are are more great conferences later this year. But I only have room in my brain for three at a time. After FOSDEM and SCaLE are over I can think about two others.

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