Utah Open Source Conference

Doran L. Barton fozz at iodynamics.com
Tue Sep 11 00:22:45 MDT 2007


Not long ago, John Anderson proclaimed...
> Hey, now that UTOSC 2007 is over, what is everyones opinion of it?

/me gives thumbs up.

> What was your favorite presentation(s)?
> What can we do to improve the conference for next year?
> What did you like that we did this year?

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to go to as many presentations as I
would have liked. My apologies to people to whom I said I would attend
their presentation and then did not. I feel terrible for missing Dan Hanks'
presentation on relational databases, for example.

I did attend the panel discussion on Open Source in Business. It was fair.
The four panelists each presented some good information either about how
open source helped them run their business operations better or, in the
case of KnowledgeBlue, how their business was built around open source
software. But, I think panel discussions like this should (a) moderated and
(b) presented to a larger audience. Panels such as this and the
distribution throw-down should be given the same size platform as keynotes.

Speaking of keynotes, the keynotes I attended were excellent. Kudos to the
keynote speakers! They all seemed to take their tasks very seriously and
did a tremendous job. It was a bit disappointing listening to Bruce Perens,
though, because he has traded in some of his zeal and enthusiasm for Open
Source a more pragmatic, realistic attitude. I'm sure it's more appropriate
for today's climate, but I miss the "install Linux over the top of Windows
while they're not lookin!" days of yore. 

> My favorite presentation (sort of) was the Guru Labs troubleshooting
> challenge, it was a lot of fun to see the interesting
> problems they could come up with and see the different solutions people had
> for the same problem.

Yes, this was very educational and entertaining and I think it could be,
like the panel dicussions, presented in front of a larger audience in
future conferences. 

> Some things I hope to improve for next year is a better balance of
> presentations (like putting Intro to Python before talks about Django or
> Sql Alchemy :P) and providing better access to the presentation slides.

Addressing the various facets of a large community is always going to be a
challenge, but I think once we find the right combination of tracks, most
people can be satisfied. I think a certain number of presentations should
be geared toward newbies. Another track could specifically target the
business crowd. Programming-related sessions were a hot topic this time
around, but not many sessions talked about using specific desktop
applications. For example, nobody demonstrated OpenOffice or The Gimp. 

I also demos of the plethora of games and educational applications
available for Linux should be investigated. Maybe set aside a portion of
one day as "bring your kids with you" time. I've got three desktop Linux
users at home that would appreciate some stuff targetted at them. :-)

Incidentally, they loved the Open Source stickers I brought home. That was
a great idea!

A hot market in the open source world right now is web-based business
applications like SugarCRM, OFBiz, and others. I noticed a couple instances
where presentations on topics like these coincided a couple times. If these
sessions had their own track, that would be less likely to happen.

System/network administration might be another good track focus. I'm just
trying to think of specific ways that people use Linux. I think I'm one of
the exceptions rather than the rule that I dabble in just about every
aspect.

> My favorite part of the conference was the community, there is so many
> intelligent people from Utah that I had never met before and I loved
> putting faces to the nicks I've seen in IRC for so long.

I agree, but I think a significant portion of the people who attended were
oblivious to the local community. The next conference should include more
information about how to get involved in communities and include some
activities that build better communities- like an open-mic session... call
it "Utah Open Source testimony meeting."

Again, Kudos to Clint for spearheading the effort to get this done and to
the others on the team who pitched in and got stuff done. I was involved
very early on but bowed out due to personal and professional conflicts.
Now that those are out of the way, I'm psyched to be involved with next
year's event.

-=Fozz

-- 
fozz at iodynamics.com is Doran L. "Fozz" Barton
 "Give great space to the festive dog that shall sport in the roadway."
    -- Seen in a Tokyo traffic handbook
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