(Note: things have been a bit hectic since attending this a while back. Teehee.)
I had the pleasure of attending LinuxFest Northwest, in Bellingham, Washington, April 28th and 29th. This was my second year at the event, and the folks who put on this event continue to impress me with a great show.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m of the opinion that most of the regional, community-grown, Linux fests/cons/expos are just fantastic, but all in their own individual ways. So here’s a quick wrap-up of what I find awesome about LFNW:
- Location, location, location. It’s beautiful up in Bellingham – and the event is held at Bellingham Technical College, which has plenty of rooms, a decently-sized (though increasingly packed with more people) area for booths, and a great outdoor area where they have grilled lunch each day. Despite being 2 hours north of Seattle, they still manage to draw a good-sized crowd, and it’s close enough to Portland and Vancouver (the Canada one, as well as the Washington one) to have people driving or taking the train from out of town. This year’s party was at the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention, which in itself is worth checking out – absolutely fascinating exhibits there.
- No keynotes. Yes, I know some people like keynotes, and I do too, but at a two-day event it feels sometimes like… well, like you’re missing out on the chance to choose from 6 more sessions, more if they do morning and evening keynotes. People get to dig in to what they’re really interested in, which is cool.
- Awesome booth attendance. Seriously, lots of great questions here – not a lot of drive-bys for free swag, but plenty of good, engaged conversation. Which made the moment when someone came to the booth and I asked if they had a question, and they looked at me and said, “Oh, it’s a *technical* question,” as they nodded towards Jeff in the other half of the booth, as though I was, you know, somehow incapable of answering those Hard Questions…. well, forgiveable. :)
- I never feel like it’s a giant sales pitch here – sure, there are vendors with booths, and lots of donations to the raffle, but you never feel like you’re bombarded with overwhelming advertisements for sponsors.
I gave a presentation on Fedora – a general “Who we are, what we do, what’s coming in F17″ presentation – which was well-received, albeit by a slightly small crowd. Which tends to be the case when you present in one of the last slots on the second day, which is much more lightly attended. The first day’s sessions were absolutely overflowing; several sessions I tried to attend were literally completely packed, to the point that they were not letting additional folks in due to fire code regulations. LFNW, at least from my perspective, seems to have a more hands-on, and perhaps slightly more technical, audience, and the session lineup – voted on by the community – reflects that audience.
The booth turned out well this year, despite some last-minute wrangling; a huge thanks to Leslie Hawthorn for driving to someone’s house in Portland and grabbing the reportedly very stained Fedora tablecloth, which was temporarily separated from its event box, washing it, and overnighting it directly to Jeff’s hotel at LFNW (it was beautiful and pristinely clean!). The famna folks also cobbled together some of the last bits of north american swag, including F16 media, stickers, balloons, pens, and a few XXXL shirts, and got it to the event.
Aside from that – in addition to meeting new people and talking to them about Fedora, it’s always good to get some facetime with other Fedora folks, and I again enjoyed meeting up with Jeff Sandys this year, who organized our booth presence. Jesse Keating and Greg DeKoenigsberg were also in attendance, and I spent a lovely meal with them catching up on life/work/things, and lots of other good folks were around as well.