SCaLE 17x Experience

SCaLE 17x was an excellent conference, as one expects from SCaLE. Thanks to all the volunteers who invite us into Pasadena and build an awesome experience for us. My first planned event was my own Ubucon presentation. The hallway track was already in full swing at check in. I immediately ran into several friends. I also met some new people, a good sign.

This year’s hallway track was expansive. I got a couple job leads (interviews going on for one of the companies now). I also had opportunities to chat with several speakers. In addition to making contacts for others, several contacts were made for me.

Some of us visited Flippy, the hamburger flipping robot, for lunch. While we were there someone from corporate was showing it off. Flippy is running Robot Operating System (ROS) on top of Ubuntu. We told them about SCaLE and now we will probably get a talk proposal next year.

Once again I was on the teams that ran the BoFs and the job boards. We had 15 BoFs between the three evenings, including our first Debian Bug Squashing Party. BoFs are great informal gathering and I love seeing the FLOSS community turn out to participate.

For the Jobs BoF this year we gave resume reviews. They were only supposed to go an hour. I ended up helping people for over two hours. I even gave a final review later in the week over the phone.

We have some really impressive people who attend SCaLE. I was amazed at some of the students who brought in their resumes. I was also amazed at some of the people re-careering. Talking to Lori Barfield about the latter after the BoF, she mentioned those re-careering are in great shape for leadership in companies that need both of their careers. As an example, a nurse that re-careers into infosec will be in great shape to lead security at a medical provider. As always, Lori has great wisdom.

The job board once again filled up quickly. We make one bulletin board available for job listings and job seekers. We have another bulletin board to list the BoF schedule. The BoF schedule goes online in the normal schedule. The bulletin board allows for last minute additions.

Talk highlights for me include Mitchell Hashimoto’s Saturday keynote, Nextcloud, Turris router, Ceph, Open Government and MySQL.

There were several FLOSS CEOs at SCaLE this year. All the CEOs I talked to are techheads. Both the CEOs I saw speak said they would prefer to spend their time coding. Mitchell, founder of HashiCorp, said founders don’t work on their vision, they get funding so others can work on it. I asked Frank Karlitschek, founder of Nextcloud, what he liked most about running Nextcloud. He shyly said his favorite thing is innovation, new ideas. He was looking forward to a Nextcloud 17 release planning meeting. Both spoke of the importance of the community to their projects.

Mitchell’s keynote went through his start in working with software through creating a project, having some success and finally into various stages of building a company. Mitchell said HashiCorp realized its customers (engineers) don’t control the money. HashiCorp needs to engage the community, but sell to management. Watch his keynote for the details and a callout for his dad’s dental practice.

Frank gave two talks. The first was about Nextcloud, The next steps for open source cloud. His second talk (Why I forked my own project and my own company (video)) is an important one for project governance. He explains how conflicting interests led to problems with the original project without disparaging anyone. The investor business model and community disagreed on how to run the project. He said, "In the end the community is right of course. The community is always right because the community does what the community wants." Because the project was Open Source, they could fork it, which led to Nextcloud. Frank said that Nextcloud is currently growing quickly (and hiring) via normal business income without external investment and is profitable.

Last year I picked up a magazine at SCaLE, which I read a couple weeks later on the flight to LibrePlanet. One of the articles was on NIC.CZ and their Turris Omnia home router. I was excited when I saw a talk on the Turris project (video) at SCaLE. The talk was great. They give home users root on their routers. They run Honeypot as a Service. Watch the talk for more information on that. I’m waiting for MOX, a modular router that is due out later this year. Michal said they are still working on getting approval to sell the Turris Omnia in the US.

I got the chance to drop into one of the Open Government panels where several speakers got up and gave intros to what they were working on. One of the panelists gave some background on US voting precincts. She had some funny, but sad stories on how precincts are documented. She also said the OpenPrecincts project wants some help.

The Friday MySQL track always gets my attention. I only got to see Dave Stokes' MySQL Document Store - A NoSQL JSON Document Database talk, but the rest are in my viewing queue.

My final talk of SCaLE17x was the final hour on Sunday. It was an excellent, quick presentation on Software-Defined Storage with CEPH (video). Alan covered object, block and file interfaces for Ceph. Great conference, to the very end.

Thanks to all the volunteers who put on SCaLE. They put in a lot of work so we can show up and have a great week. Danke!

See everyone next year at SCaLE 18x!