Linux conferences for 2003

by Don Marti

It's the beginning of what looks like an exciting year for Linux conferences and events. I've been to a lot of them over the past five years or so, so here are some of the cool ones for 2003.

January: LinuxWorld New York

My prediction for LinuxWorld New York is that it's going to be pretty good; the Javits Center is so far away from anything cool in Manhattan that the crowd is going to find it hard to wander away. Last year, IBM shepherded a bunch of business customers through, so that should keep the booth crews focused. At least one highly interesting product will be demoed for the first time there, but the real win at this show is the ".org" area, where you can catch up on the project whose code you're almost ready to start using. January 21-24.

LinuxWorld overlaps with which I hear great things about but don't have the budget for this year.

February: CodeCon

Go to CodeCon. It's the "premier showcase of active hacker projects" -- where you go to show off new, innovative code, or ask the author about it firsthand. The focus is on enabling technology for freedom, and previous talks included CryptoMail, the Mojo Nation successor Mnet, and the automatic mirroring tool BitTorrent.

Best of all, it's in a city worth visiting, San Francisco, February 22-24, 2003.

March: South By Southwest

Hey! South By Southwest? That's not a Linux conference! Maybe not, but this film and music festival has been expanding its free software track, has a substantial web and interactive component, and will put you face-to-face with a bunch of interesting creative people. Austin, Texas, March 7-16.

April: Computers, Freedom, and Privacy

The DMCA debate and more are alive at the 13th Annual Conference on Computers, Freedom & Privacy, which is the place to go for those of us who want to keep all three. You will find yourself sitting between cypherpunks and people from the Post Office, and hearing talks on the technology that powers things people get sued or thrown in prison for. Last year's speakers included Princeton's Ed Felten and Bill Lockyer, Attorney-General of California. April 1-4, New York City.

Summer: Linuxbierwanderung

This one is still in the planning stages for 2003. but if you're over in Europe and want a Linux adventure at a moderate price, you can't beat the Linuxbierwanderung or "Linux Beer Hike". These people have fun -- think beer-swilling backpackers descending on a peaceful village with a Beowulf cluster, assorted antennas, laptops, and digital cameras.

June: USENIX Annual Technical Conference

The USENIX Annual Technical Conference has never failed to be in a good conference town. But the real attractions are the information-dense tutorials on subjects such as security and kernel hacking, and the Birds of a Feather sessions where you can ask your favorite project leaders what's up with whatever you're curious about. June 9-14, 2003, in San Antonio, Texas.

July: Ottawa Linux Symposium

The Ottawa Linux Symposium is scheduled for July 23rd-26th, 2003 in Ottawa Canada. The technical program was excellent last time, and this is worth attending.

August: LinuxWorld again

This one is a $4 Caltrain ride for me, so I don't have that much to lose. Somewhat interesting from a technical point of view, and has the same .org frenzy that makes the New York show fun, but it's too close to Silicon Valley, the land where if you call a khakis-wearing executive "visionary" too often, he or she will get up and start making keynote speeches in Moscone Center without bothering to check what conference is in town this week. Three words, people: skip the keynotes. If you're going to hit this conference you should get on the local user group mailing lists a couple weeks in advance to find out where the Real Party is.

September: Linux Lunacy cruise

I'm going on the Linux Journal cruise scheduled for September 18-20, not just because I work there but based on all the good stuff I heard about the 2002 one, and the first one, in 2001. The technical programs are execellent, but I don't know what you call the "hallway track" on a ship.

That's about it for my list -- got any more? If so, mail me --

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