Ohio LinuxFest 2016 wrap-up

I spent last weekend at Ohio LinuxFest, present on ZFS and meeting readers. First, the obvious question: how did things go between a BSD Unix guy and a whole bunch of Linux fans?

It was kind of like visiting a parallel universe–the GNUniverse, if you will. And unlike Star Trek, that universe’s inhabitants are perfectly friendly.

The program heavily featured system administration and community presentations, where a BSD conference would have had more code. (That’s not a complaint, just an observation.) Friday had a single track of talks, while Saturday had six. This meant I skipped a couple of talks on Friday–I’ve been a sysadmin since 1995, and if I must sit through another talk on GNU screen someone’s getting a serious wedgie. Saturday’s program had an embarrassment of riches, however.

The keynotes were excellent. I particularly enjoyed Catherine Devlin’s talk on open source in the US government. 18F is a great example of how a government agencies can be perfectly competent.

On a BSD-specific note, Ken Moore from iX Systems talked about the new system management tools in PC-BSD TrueOS.

For a small conference OLF treats their speakers quite well, with lunch every day and a pre-con party on Thursday night. They also did an excellent job of communicating with speakers. I knew exactly what was going on, my timetable, and the presentation requirements. Knowing simple things like “our presentation gear is VGA, please bring an adapter” helped everyone a lot.

OLF did have a couple of extra surreal notes to it.

If you watch an SF show with parallel universes, somehow all of the major characters appear in slightly different form. This is absurd–changing the universe around you would change your interests, your personality, and possibly even your very name.

I’m pleased to report, though, that in the GNUniverse of a Linux conference, Andrew Fresh and Peter Hessler are still hackers. Their names have changed, to “Justin Smith” and “Andrew Pullins.” They even wear hacker T-shirts. Their allegiances have changed, however…

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