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The HeliOS Project is now.....
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Linux Events...Not Drawing The Crowds

Linux conferences and events...
I don't attend as many as I should...but what I do keeps me chained here mostly. I was invited to the Linux Symposium/Conference a while back and did attend...not sure if I'd ever be invited again though. A little something about putting a panel on the spot about Marketing Linux.

Hey Redhat, IBM...Novell. It's OK man...we got it covered. At least it's a start.

At any rate, I spoke with Bob Krausen a few days ago and he told me that there was some concern expressed in a particular IRC in which John "Mad Dog" Hall participated; that attendance at some of these bigger functions is or may be dropping. Oh and John...It was a blast...hope to see you again soon.

Going by the pre-registration numbers that is...things are not as good as they used to be. Yeah, it's back to school time and college students don't have the time to travel now, that is a point. But what is concerning many is the slow but steady drop in attendance of many of these functions. Is this a trend? I dunno...

I've posted some information about upcoming/currently-running events just so everyone knows they are happening.
If you get a chance, folks would like to see your face...and hear your voice. It's more important than you think.

ATLANTA LINUX FEST - September 19, 2009
ALF banner
Atlanta Linux Fest will be held Saturday, September 19th, 2009, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. This coincides with the 2009 Software Freedom day, so come show your support for free software! The Atlanta Linux Fest is a free grassroots conference for the GNU/Open Source Software/Free Software community to gather and share information about fun and exciting existing and upcoming Linux and Open Source Software. Attendees of all skill levels are invited to share their experiences to benefit all users of Linux/Free and Open Source Software. Atlanta Linux Fest is the place to learn, make new friends, and have fun!
Speakers include Tom Callaway, Red Hat; Steve Conklin, Canonical; Ellen Ko, Google; Dan Chen, Ubuntu; and many more. A complete list of speakers can be found at

Register now! Registration required to use wifi.

OHIO LINUX FEST - September 25-26-27

The Ohio LinuxFest is a conference for the Free and Open Source software communities. Featuring talks by authoritative speakers, a large expo, tutorials, and more, the Ohio LinuxFest welcomes Free and Open Source Source professionals and enthusiasts of all ages and from all places to join us as we celebrate 40 years of unix.
Speakers include Dr. Douglas McIlroy, UNIX pipes and tools developer working at Bell Labs during the birth of UNIX; Shawn Powers, one of the Linux Journal editors; Cat Allman, Google; Mike Badger, author; Dr. Alexander Bandar, Idea Foundry; and many more. A complete list of speakers can be found at
ONTARIO LINUX FEST - October 24, 2009
Ontario Linux Fest 2009. Register Now!
Ontario Linux Fest is the conference, workshop and community meeting place that is organized and run by the community for the community. This full day of presentations, workshops, birds-of-a-feather and social networking is ready to go for the third year. Everybody with an interest in using, deploying and developing Free / Libre and Open Source Software will find Ontario Linux Fest well worth their while.
Speakers include Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier, open SUSE ; Jim Elliott, IBM; Louis Suarez-Potts,; Emma Jane Hogbin, advocate and author; Dru Lavigne, developer and author; and many more. A complete list of speakers can be found at

All-Righty Then...


Unknown said...

With all media connections nowdays, it's no wonder big conferences are loosgin attendance. Nowdays we can stay home and watch it from far away, without all the problems of needing to be at the same time in two interesting panels.

Adam Gonnerman said...

I don't know how far into the future you want this to go, but DebConf10 is coming up next summer in NYC. No specific date set as yet. I've been told it's free to attend the presentations.

Michael Hall said...

I just got back from the Atlanta Linux Fest, and let me tell you attendance was phenomenal!

I spoke with Nick Ali, one of the organizers, and he told me that early registration numbers had them expecting 200-300 people. In the last week, the number of registrations jumped to something like 900!

I gave a presentation there about Open Source and Charitable Giving, talking about why what we do is important, and why open source is important in doing what we do. You can download the slides from my website. Someone was recording video of the presentation, I will have that up when it's available. In the mean time, you can see the video of my wife presenting at the South East Linux Fest, which also had an awesome turnout.

BobK54 said...

I just heard from one of the Ohio Linux Fest organizers and there seems to be a last minute rush of registrations. I think part of that rush can be attributed to the community effort to get the word out. I thank helios for helping that community effort. I'm glad to hear the Atlanta fest was a success Michael! I was at SELF in June and attended the session you and Michelle put on. I learned a lot! It gives me confidence the Ohio Linux Fest will be a success.

kozmcrae said...

Where Zombies fear to tread. I love your blog Ken. Intelligent, helpful and witty posts. It's not that I mind duking it out on commercial blogs. It's the stink I bring home with me at the end of the day.

I'm not a Mathematician but there are many variables to consider. Ok, so the number of attendees appears to be down per event. What's the total number of attendees for all events per year/quarter? Is that up or down compared to previous years/quarters? Are there more events than in the past, thereby diluting the numbers for all events? But my first thought when you mentioned the apparent dearth of people was that many of them were busy, busy expanding the reach of GNU/Linux.

Michael said...

To add to kozmcrae's post, convention attendance is down across the board, not just Linux, or even tech conventions. I've heard of lower attendance at gun shows, of people canceling sewing conventions because of lack of attendance.

This economy is hurting everyone, and traveling just isn't in the budget as much as it once was. I spent my vacation money going up to ALF, I know others did too. A lot of people I talked to wanted to go, but just couldn't justify spending the money right now.

Unknown said...

The Arizona Business and Liberty Experience Conference (ABLEconf) is soliciting presentations for its second annual conference. ABLEconf will take place on Saturday, October 24th, 2009 at the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Arizona.

Continuing ABLEconf's drive to showcase free and open source software for business, we are seeking presentations in either 20 or 50 minute formats. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:


Colonel Panik said...

This could be the only place you will
ever get to see the Colonel and RMS on the same day. And you know who will be
the headliner.

Michael Hall said...

Can you please add the Florida Linux Show, October 24th, to that list?

TomS said...

Please don't forget the impact the economy has.

Everybody has taken a hit or knows someone who has. Between job losses, shorter hours or just a cautious nature in trying times, travel is down and folks are taking a shorter term look at spending money. Events far from home just get less consideration.

Low pre-registration is not necessarily a sign of loss of interest. Its a sign of the economy and confidence.

However I also believe there is a lack of awareness of some local conferences. We get used to reading certain sources and WE see notices of events. But how about readers that don't frequent Linux websites? Because we know about events, we assume everyone is equally aware.

We can all do a better job of posting comments mentioning events or making event notifications postings on sites we frequent or control. Just add it to the mission statement or checklist of website design steps, right along with spell check and tidy-HTML.

People won't respond unless they are aware. Just factor time spent making people aware of Linux as the cost we pay for keeping OSS viable and thriving. It's everyone's job.

Unknown said...

It's the economy. A lot of people are short on cash, and even those who aren't are being careful in case they are the next to be laid off.

The big banks have a lot to answer for, and hopefully will be the first up against the wall, come the revolution (yes, I borrowed this from Douglas Adams, who borrowed it from Che Guevara).

BobK54 said...

Just got back from the Ohio Linux Fest. The earlier concern about attendee numbers was real but the results were more than anticipated. Two weeks ago the preregistrations were a tad over 700. When you account for probable no-shows that would make a small Ohio Linux Fest. The final tally announced before the evening keynote was amazing: I was sharing the aisles yesterday with over 1,100 fellow penguinistas. Yes, ONE THOUSAND ONE HUBNDRED. Sweet!

I wanted to thank you Ken for helping to get the word out. The community is alive and well.