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I have finally updated my calendar of open source and embedded systems conferences.

There have been a lot of changes this year, most notably the Embedded Linux Conference moving from April up to February and also moving location from San Francisco to Redwood Shores, CA, USA. This is a premier annual meeting of embedded Linux engineers, and I am pleased to announce an addition this year. On Tuesday, February 14, the Yocto Project presents a Developer Day, a full day of embedded Linux training, free of charge. Seating is limited, so register early and get more information on the Yocto Project Developer Day page at the Linux Foundation.

I will be attending and speaking at several of these conferences. If you see me, say hi!


Open source is very big in embedded systems right now, and Linux is at its very heart, and the spring conference season has been breathtakingly busy. This spring, I attended Linux Collaboration Summit and Embedded Linux Conference, where we launched Yocto Project 1.0, as well as a busy Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) Silicon Valley, and heard great things about the MeeGo Conference in San Francisco as well as Indiana Linux Fest, Texas Linux Fest, SouthEast Linux Fest, Northwest Linux Fest, Northeast Linux Fest, Palmetto Open Source Software Conference, Open Source Bridge in Portland, LinuxTag in Germany, LinuxCon Japan, and several others, including the perennial Ottawa Linux Symposium. NASA even hosted their first Open Source Summit, for which I am still making my way through the proceedings. The Mobile Computing Summit is going on right now in San Francisco, and the OpenSource Developer’s Conference Malaysia started today in Kuala Lumpur. I wish I could go to all of them!

Now the summer conference season is upon us, despite the odd weather. Summer brings my three favorite events – CLS, OSCON, and LinuxCon – as well as Linux Plumbers Conference, and it forecasts the busy fall season as well. Here are some details on the big ones for embedded Linux.

OSCON

For open source junkies, the Mecca of open source conferences is O’Reilly Media‘s OSCON which is held in Portland every summer, this year July 25-29. OSCON draws thousands of people every year, and with good reason – it is the largest annual mixture of industry and “pure” open source ventures to talk specifically about open source. You will find everything here, from expo hall to half-day tutorials, presentations to BoFs, lightning talks to after-parties, and never a dull moment. This year, O’Reilly is also co-locating two new conferences, OSCON Data and OSCON Java, which cover (naturally) open data and the Java language. This makes the week intensely busy, so keep a close eye on the schedule.

I’ll be at OSCON all week, talking about the Yocto Project as an opener for our premier build engineer Beth Flanagan talking about the Yocto Project Autobuilder, as well as at a (planned) evening BoF. It is also my intention to reprise the popular Hallway Hoedown afternoon jam session from last year, and possibly a music BoF, so bring an instrument! (Day & time TBA.)

I will also be attending the Community Leadership Summit during the weekend prior to OSCON. This is a free conference where community leaders can come together and share best practices, swap stories of good and bad experiences, and network with each other. The crowd is always very vibrant, and it isn’t just technical communities – we have had participants from all walks of life. If you manage a community, please check it out or write to me for more information. It is a free event, but please be sure to register.

The one thing about OSCON is that it is somewhat expensive, but I can help with that. Contact me by email or in the comments below for a registration code worth 20% off.

Also, join the social networks surrounding OSCON if you enjoy couch surfing or linking up with friendly, like-minded strangers to share housing, as that is quite common with this event. And for food, the Portland food carts are legendary, mystical places where everything is tasty, healthy, and cheap. Be sure to follow @oscon on twitter, and watch #oscon for late-breaking information.

LinuxCon North America, Vancouver, BC

LinuxCon is the premier general Linux event of the year, and this year is a doozy. As most (probably all) of the readers of this blog already know, this year is the 20th anniversary of the Linux operating system, and while Linus himself is celebrating with a no-stress major revision, the Linux Foundation has taken it upon themselves to throw a huge party in Canada.

LinuxCon starts off with a grand educational event – the “Linux Learners” Student Day – put together by the very good folks at Oregon State’s Open Source Lab. Then the conference itself begins, featuring keynotes from several Linux luminaries, a Q&A with Linus and Greg Kroah-Hartmann, a panel called “20 Years of Linux” with Eben Moglen (Software Freedom Law Center), Jim Zemlin (Executive Director, Linux Foundation), and Jon “Maddog” Hall, and several tracks of presentations.

Oh, and in case that wasn’t fun enough, don’t just fly to Vancouver – go to Portland instead and take the LinuxCon or Bust Bus for several hours of fun through the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Then on Wednesday night, the event of the year is the Linux “Roaring 20’s” 20th Anniversary Gala at the Commodore Ballroom, with a full dinner buffet, open bar, live jazz, and casino – you can event rent 1920s attire to complete the picture.

I’ll be participating in a 2-hour hands-on Yocto Project presentation with Saul Wold, one of the project’s lead engineers. There will also be a Yocto Project Community BoF, and several Yocto Project folks available during the event for one-on-one discussions.

Fall 2011

Some fantastic conferences are coming up in the fall: Linux Plumber’s Conference, Open Hardware Summit in New York (CFP is open through July 1!), ARM TechCon, Open World Forum in Paris, and the big Linux Foundation events in Prague: Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELC-E), LinuxCon Europe, and the Kernel Summit, plus LinuxCon Brazil in November, to name just a few. Watch this space for more information in an upcoming post.

Also keep in mind that you can follow all of these conferences from my open source conferences page, which contains a link to a Google Calendar that tracks them as well.

Ain’t it fun being social?


Shameless self promotion: I just published a new article about open hardware. The article, Open Hardware: How & Why It Works, includes an introduction to open hardware concepts, overviews of some popular projects including the Arduino and BeagleBoard, a brief overview of some of the legal issues, and a trip report from the Open Hardware Summit in New York last month.

Please visit & vote — both on the article, and in the elections if you are based in the US.


Newcomers to open source often want to dive in and help as soon as they figure out just how cool open source really is. Unfortunately, one of the main barriers to entry is the projects themselves – not only are there thousands to sift through, it is a very large task just to find one that welcomes contributions from newcomers. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if there were an automated way to find bite-sized bugs to work on in welcoming communities for grateful open source projects?

Well, now there is.

My friend Asheesh, who gave a great talk at the Teaching Open Source Education mini-summit at LinuxCon last month, has invented something seriously cool called OpenHatch. I have been meaning to write about it, and since he has a student hack-a-thon and introduction to OpenHatch planned for the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia this weekend, this is a great opportunity to share some thoughts about OpenHatch.

OpenHatch.org provides an automated way for connecting interested developers with projects. Moreover, it matches up the project’s needs with the developer’s skills, and it doesn’t stop with just developers. Documentation, marketing, and other non-coding skills are just as vital to the success of open-source projects as software coding, and there are categories for these. One of the best features of the site is the integration with Google maps, so if a new developer wants to find a local project where they can meet someone face to face, they can do so.

Asheesh has created an unprecedented win-win-win situation with OpenHatch:

  • Newcomers win because the barrier to entry into the open-source community is lowered considerably – and this applies to documentation writers, marketers, and other less-technical or non-technical contributors as well as software developers.
  • Open-source projects win big because they can finally source the help they need for small bugs, especially for well-established projects in which the regulars are usually out solving big problems.
  • The open-source movement in general wins big, as OpenHatch not only makes it possible to easily find bite-sized bugs, it legitimizes the whole process and makes it friendly rather than daunting.

The full schedule for the Philly event shows that it is a 2-day exploration of open source for 20 lucky students, who must register by email. In addition to a free lunch on both Saturday and Sunday, September 25-26, participants will receive hands-on learning sessions with OpenHatch, a guided presentation of open-source concepts and precepts, demonstrations, and a guide to participating in the open-source landscape. Sunday is a full-scale hack-a-thon, with representatives from several projects on hand to help.

This no-cost event is a fantastic opportunity for Philadelphia-area students to get their feet wet with open source, with a real education in community development.

In my opinion, it is not possible to find a better way to dive into open source. Go to this event if you can.

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