Ohio LinuxFest 2014 Report
I took the day off of work on Friday the 24th and made the three or so hour trip from Pittsburgh to Columbus. Upon arriving at the Columbus Convention Center, I met up with the Speaker Chair of Ohio LinuxFest, Vance Kochenderfer, and set up the table runner at the table that was designated to Haiku. After that, I headed back to the hotel to drop off all of my excess baggage, got some food, and then headed back to the Convention Center.
This year, the expo floor was open on Friday evening, so I decided to take advantage of that to show off Haiku on my Lenovo X120e and System76 Galago UltraPro. I got some people that were certainly interested, and had lots of worthwhile conversations from both existing Haiku users and dabblers, as well as people who were not familiar with Haiku at all. I did a quick interview with Michael Huff of MountainKernel.com (currently being built), and he was great to interact with. I haven't had time to check out this video of his yet, but I figure at the very least there is some video footage of me, even if the interview did not make the cut.
Unfortunately even though I had taken off work that day, at 7 PM I had to head back to my hotel room and check in on what was happening with my work servers. Basically my work servers get hammered on Friday nights during high school football season, so I like to look over them just in case anything bad happens. Unfortunately I missed the group screening of "The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin" due to this, but at least I could work on re-imaging my Haiku machines while I was actively watching the work servers. There was some work that Adrien had done with FFmpeg earlier in the day, so I wanted to make sure those changes were incorporated in my custom builds that would be running the next day during the expo.
The next morning came around quite quickly, and before I knew it, I was getting decent traffic at the Haiku table. Unfortunately there was no Michael, Darkwyrm, or Kit to help out this year, but I still did alright by myself. Early on, Noah and q5sys from Jupiter Broadcasting came over to the table and began talking to me. Q5sys mentioned that he had tried Haiku somewhat recently, but that it wouldn't boot on his system. I told him that I would keep in touch and we could try troubleshooting it when we both had time. I connected with him after OLF, and he mentioned that we can probably try this upcoming weekend, and that he would also be interested in having Haiku on the network once we have our next release. :)
In any case, while Noah was still at our table, he asked if I'd be willing to give an interview about Haiku and I agreed. Many of you are likely already aware, but the interview appears during episode 336 of the Linux Action Show.
The rest of the day, I talked to many interesting people, such as Ken Starks, who you may know from the Reglue charity. He had mentioned that he is interested in Haiku, and that he may be doing a writeup about it in the future. I will be sure to follow up with him, since he gave me his contact information. I'm pretty sure he has some video or pictures of the Haiku table as well, actually, so I will indeed ask him if he has any pictures he can share back with me. In any case, he also gave the closing keynote at Ohio Linuxfest, and it was definitely a talk that I enjoyed.
As I talked to many attendees about various things like our package management, scheduler update, WebPositive progress, Wi-Fi, ASLR/DEP, and anything else I could think of, and there was an overwhelming positive energy about Haiku by those who saw it in action. By far the most common question I got was "When will the next release be out?". In the past, I would say the most common question is "Why would I ever choose Haiku over any existing Linux distribution?", so it is nice to see that there was a lot more positive energy about Haiku, as well as excitement about the next release. I gave the most honest answer about when the next release would be, which is that I didn't know, but I hoped it would be before the end of Q1 2015, and hopefully much sooner. I was glad to see that Adrien had brought up this very topic after BeGeistert, as hopefully some of the people at Ohio Linuxfest will read about it and see what the latest estimates and ideas are.
I also took the opportunity to ask attendees what they would think about the Haiku userland someday running above the Linux kernel. Most people, including the Jupiter Broadcasting folks thought it was an interesting, yet silly idea. Some thought it was a good idea. I was really hoping that the planned presentation on this topic at BeGeistert would have actualized, but unfortunately it didn't, as it appears that the person proposing and claiming to have worked on it either simply didn't show, or simply never did the work and subsequently never showed as a result. Oh well.
Not only did I talk to many of the attendees, but I tried to talk to some of the other people running tables at the event. I really enjoyed talking to the Think Penguin guys, and it was fun to talk briefly with Jess of the Chef project. I admit I think she probably made me blush when she mentioned how beautiful the Haiku source code is. :) She will also probably be sad to know that I'll be using Salt instead of Chef for an upcoming project at work. Oh well.
In any case, the day went by fast, and I made sure to take in at least one talk this year about Hadoop, as it was relevant to some things at work. When I came back, I was greeted by many people wondering where I went, and asking if there were any flyers or stickers left. I didn't notice, but even though I ran out of stickers early, all of the flyers indeed were gone when I returned to the table. I took a mental note that I need to bring more for next year. That is a good problem to have though!
Before I knew it, it was time to break down my table and get ready for the closing keynotes by Ruth Suehle and Ken Starks. I enjoyed both quite a lot, and afterwards took all of my gear back to the hotel, and then got ready for the afterparty. At the afterparty I connected with some folks, and we discussed all sorts of topics such as our careers, as well as technologies and software we enjoy using. This gave me plenty of opportunities to mention Haiku again, and also mention other software I like using, like Fossil and concrete5, for example. I also got plenty of advice on Amazon Web Services, which is helpful since my work infrastructure will be moving to that soon. People also shared with me open source projects that they like that I should check out, and I also got some tips about Drupal (the CMS I use at work) that were useful. Before the afterparty ended, I got to talk to the Jupiter Broadcasting crew again, including Chris and Angela, which was pretty cool. Somebody took a picture of me with them, so I need to hunt that person down as well. :)
I left Columbus the next day excited for the future of Haiku, and looking forward to Ohio Linuxfest 2015. It was definitely one of my best experiences of the year, and it was great to be able to share my love of Haiku and open source software with everyone!
As I find time, I will add some photos (from others since I was so busy that it kind of slipped my mind!) and perhaps other links to this blog post. Thanks for reading!
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