SCALE: The Best Little-Big Open Source Conference

The Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) is happening this weekend Feb. 25-27 and is, simply, awesome! I heard about it during its infancy but never even looked into it thinking it would be just as expensive as OSCON. Boy was I wrong! The first year I attended, it cost $60. This year the cost is $70. That's $70 for THREE days, which is a steal! Factor in the discounts provided to local open source user groups & it is downright highway robbery. You really cannot beat it.

Luminaries from across the open source universe abound. There are simply too many to list here. There will also be many open source-based companies on-hand hiring: Facebook, Google, eHarmony and Ticketmaster, to name but a few. There will be exhibitors ranging from local open source user groups to non-profits leveraging open source to make the world a better place to well-known linux distributions and everything in-between.

The events kick-off on Friday with some great tracks including DevOps, Build an Open Source Cloud Day, PostgreSQL Day, Fedora Activity Day, UbuCon, FOSS Mentoring and SCALE U.. Saturday and Sunday is the main conference with tracks for Open Source in Education (OSSIE), Beginners, Developers and System Administrators.

This year, I am really excited about two great things at SCALE. First is that both keynote speakers are women! Leigh Honeywell will speak on Hackerspaces and Free Software. Jane Silber will speak on the Cloud for Human Beings. This really exemplifies how open source projects really embrace women and their wonderful open source contributions. An example is the Drupal project, which at last count has ~15-20% female participation. This is great news for everyone involved.

The other great thing this year (besides the kickass presentations) is that presentations will be streamed live over the interwebs. The presentations will also be available for download after the conference has ended. The keynotes will also be streamed live via ustream. So check out the schedule as no matter where you are in the world, you can attend virtually!

There will be lots of great Birds of a Feather (BoFs), some great parties, a kickass reception and other fun special events lined up. Linux Journal's very own Kyle Rankin is even giving a presentation titled Bond, Ethernet Bond. If you're going to be in the Los Angeles area, it is still not too late to register.

I have long said that a great conference is like a great restaurant in that everything on the menu looks so delicious, you have no idea what to pick. In SCALE's case, you have to repeat that process for every single time slot! So come on out or tune-in via streaming video and enjoy the open source buffet.

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Miguel Hernandez is the Founder & Head Geek at the OpenMindz Group, an IT consulting and web development firm in Los Angeles, California.

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