Last week, I attended and presented at the 2009 Embedded Linux Conference and the 2009 Linux Collaboration Summit.  The conferences were co-located at the Kabuki Hotel in San Francisco, CA.  Both conferences were extremely useful individually, but the combination of the two was absolutely electric.

ELC is a twice-annual conference, in the US in springtime and in Europe in the fall.  This year marked its first co-location with a Linux Foundation conference, although the two groups have long had a correspondence relationship.  I attended some fantastic sessions, beginning with Dirk Hohndel’s keynote on ubiquitous Linux—very appropriate for an embedded conference.   I sadly missed a few of the sessions that day due to scheduling conflicts, but was able to attend the eLinux.org wiki BoF and submit a few changes.  I’m actually very excited about eLinux.org because it is a wealth of information that fits very well with what we are trying to do with Meld, and I was glad to see so much participation (even if some bribery was involved).

The next day was full of fascinating information.  I attended a presentation on Maemo, a keynote by embedded maintainer David Woodhouse, a great talk by embedded luminary Jim Ready, a fascinating discussion by David Mandala from Ubuntu on how they got such a large distro to work well in an ARM environment, as well as an extremely interesting panel hosted by Tim Bird and featuring Matt Mackall, Jon Corbet, and David Woodhouse.  The evening provided a showcase of demos, including my demo of Meld running in Firefox on a Beagle Board.

Wednesday was a rough one, because it was the day the two conferences overlapped.  It was quite odd to wake up to find the population in the hotel’s conference area quadrupled, quite literally, and the rooms changed around to accommodate all of the new conferencegoers.  I didn’t get a chance to see many of the remaining technical talks because I was riveted by the keynotes, most of which addressed community either directly or indirectly.  I also managed to meet several community leaders, including Karsten Wade, Joe Brockmeier, and Jono Bacon.  As a newcomer to community management, I found all of them welcoming, open, and filled with advice about community-building.  The advice itself was worth the price of the trip—they gave me a lot to think about, particularly Karsten, whose role with Fedora is probably most similar to mine in the embedded space.

I gave my ELC presentation Wednesday as well, and was pleased to see some participation despite being opposite a very compelling panel featuring representatives from Sun, Microsoft, and the Linux Foundation.  Note that Free Electrons recorded all of the sessions at ELC, including mine, so I expect to see those online in the coming weeks.  Well done again, guys.

The Linux Collaboration Summit is normally an invitation-only affair.  This year, however, they invited all ELC members to stay for the remaining two days and participate.  Thursday and Friday were simply a blur of packed sessions, including one I gave with Joerg Bertholdt, VP Mktg at MontaVista, during the Community Best Practices track on Friday morning.  The attendees were mostly community managers and active members, and we had a lively discussion about community and its role in product development and commericalization as well as some details about Meld itself.  The final presentation I attended was by Dr. Christine Hansen, a global advisor to governments and large institutions.  The place was just packed with fascinating information.

I came home exhausted on Friday afternoon, very grateful for such events and eager for more (after a rest!).