Linuxfest Northwest 2005: A Preview Article

by Steve R. Hastings

Linuxfest Northwest is a non-commercial one-day conference and exhibition of open-source technology, with an emphasis on Linux. It is held once a year, is free of charge and is hosted at the Bellingham Technical College (BTC) in Bellingham, WA. It will run from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday, April 30, 2005.

I attended Linuxfest Northwest 2003 and wrote an article about it for LJ. I missed last year's event, but I'm really looking forward to this year's Linuxfest, because it's a convention put on by users groups for other users. It's more fun and less commercial than the typical computer-industry tradeshows I have attended.

Erik Logan, CTO of Pogo Linux, told me by e-mail: "Linuxfest Northwest is a great opportunity for Washington-area LUGs to get together to share experiences with Linux, as well as learn about new developments in the Linux community. We're happy to participate again this year and look forward to the knowledge sharing that will take place, which is essential to the growth and success of Linux."

Seven users groups collaborated to produce this year's Linuxfest: BLUG, Taclug, KPLUG, GSLUG, VLUG, VanLUG and SeaBUG.

Linuxfest's organizers are expecting at least 1200 people to attend, with more than 40 exhibitors and more than 60 presentations planned. The exhibitors area will have users groups, book vendors, computer vendors, ISPs, representatives from free software projects such as Ubuntu and MySQL and an official Linuxfest booth that will sell tickets for the raffle to be held at the end of the day. Some really cool prizes were donated for 2003's raffle, and I plan to buy some raffle tickets again this year.

In the exhibitors area, Pogo Linux will be showing its new dual-core Athlon workstation, the Vorticon DC460, as well as an 8-way SMP server built with dual-core processors for a total of 16 processors. Pogo also is going to show off a storage server capable of 48 Serial ATA hard drives for up to 18TB of storage.

Both Google and Volt Technical Resources will have recruiters in the exhibitors area. So if you are looking for a job, bring your resume.

The schedule of presentations is impressive. The presentations are held in 12 different classrooms, and there are four different time slots. I wish I could be in several places at once to attend some of the presentations scheduled for the same time. There is something for everyone in the presentations. Some are suitable for complete beginners, such as "Linux for Dummies" by Dee-Ann LeBlanc; some are suitable for sysadmins, such as "Network Monitoring with SNMP and Cacti" by Francois Caen; some are suitable for developers, such as "Programming with Anjuta" by Carl B. Constantine; and some are general interest, such as "Digital Photos with Gimp" by Rikke D. Giles. In addition, there will be speakers from Google, IBM, Novell, Real Networks, the Linux Professional Institute, the Foundation and the Ubuntu Project.

Once again, Linuxfest Northwest 2005 will host a geek trivia contest called Alpha Geek. It was held last year, and it should be fun.

Of course, some parties will be held after the event. During the show, the BTC Chefs Club will serve a grilled salmon lunch and sell espresso drinks.

Directions explaining how to get to Linuxfest by car or by ferry are available here. BTC offers plenty of parking, and there is no charge for it. Alternatively, Pogo Linux once again is chartering buses to take people from Seattle to Linuxfest. If you are in the Seattle area and wish to carpool with dozens of other Linux fans, sign up here. Signups will end no later than Thursday, April 28, so if you want to ride the bus, sign up now!

If you need a hotel room, discounted rooms are available at the Bellingham Hampton Inn.

Mark Ashworth, one of the "lead penguins" at BLUG, told me this in an e-mail interview, "We've had a tough time getting newspapers and other media to take the fest seriously. That's a real shame given the quality of the presenters." He requests that everyone help spread the word about Linuxfest 2005: e-mail your friends, post to your list or blog--help people find out that this is happening before this weekend so they can attend.

The Linuxfest Web site has some ad banners you can use to help promote Linuxfest on your Web site. Linuxfest Northwest 2005 is going to be a lot of fun. I hope to see you there!

Steve R. Hastings first used UNIX on actual paper teletypes. He enjoys bicycling with his wife, listening to music, petting his cat and making his Linux computers do new things.

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