Webinars, seminars held over the Internet, are a great way to attend a very directed class on a specific subject without leaving your desk.   I love these things because they are rarely longer than an hour, and they are usually cached so you can go back and watch them anytime if you miss the original presentation, or if you want to catch something you missed.

This week, MontaVista‘s Klaas van Gend gave an excellent presentation addressing the top 5 pains in Linux system build and design.  The webinar is already archived on MontaVista’s site, along with many other interesting presentations.

Coming up from TimeSys is a 4-part series on basic embedded Linux skills (thanks to LinuxDevices for the news).

Some webinars are a little more commercial, though still informative, like Wind River‘s Mike Deliman  exploring RTOS design for space robotics from July 2008.  I have a personal interest in this one, as I worked at Wind River in 1996 and 1997, when VxWorks became the first RTOS on a different planet—a heady time for humanity, and for embedded systems as well.  RIP, Sojourner.

Also be sure to check websites after important conferences, like CELF’s Embedded Linux Conference or MontaVista’s Vision 2008.  These sites usually catalog at least the slides from most or all sessions, if not video recordings of the actual presentations.

Take advantage of these offerings.  It’s like going to college for free, or at least going to a conference for free (without the travel or the shwag and shmoozing).  And don’t forget to look for other free training materials, including documentation, white papers, and even events.  This is one way these loose “communities” feed back into the public sphere, which benefits everyone involved.