The seventh iteration of the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE 7x) was held the weekend of February 20th 2009 in Los Angeles. SCALE is an annual conference that has several tracks and has special tracks on Friday. Along with the program tracks, there is an extensive vendor Expo Floor, which includes a Org Pavilion containing several free software organizations. The special tracks on Friday were the Open Source Software in Education, Women in Open Source, and SCALE University run by the League of Professional System Administrators (LOPSA).
SCALE is a well run show with notable presenters. As with any other conference of this size the quality of the speakers varies, and I heard a couple of complaints talking to other attendees. The conference is well worth the time and I came back with knowledge that I plan to implement soon. Some of the topics presented will impact a couple of projects that I'm working on and the value of the conference will be felt immediately.
##Free software is about choices and opportunities.
Since my day job is in Higher Education and I'm also externally involved with K-12, the obvious Friday track was Open Source Software in Education. Tim Frichtel gave an excellent keynote along with his talk “OSS Just for Schools”. Samuel Coleman gave a passionate and humorous talk on his experiences setting up “Low/No Cost Mini Computer Labs for Classrooms”. One quote from Sam, and this applies directly to open source in schools, is that, “Free software is about choices and opportunities.” Choices schools make, implementing free software, can have a direct effect on the opportunities we give our students. Finally, Kristian Hermansen's topic on Diskless Remote Boot Linux (DRBL) was interactive and informative. A couple of other talks I attended either tended to sway off the stated topic or was very basic information.
In the Beginners Track, the talk I was looking forward to was “Getting Started with System Monitoring”, by AEleen Frisch. Ms. Frisch is the author of “Essential System Administration” from O'Reilly, which should be on every GNU/Linux administrators book shelf. It was an informative talk on monitoring with Nagios and Munin.
I attended the first SCALE and the conference has continuously improved and has become a major event for all levels of GNU/Linux users, administrators and enthusiasts. I look forward to next year.
##Special Notes from SCALE 7x
Below are links to projects that I found interesting that I learned about or became re-familiar with.
ATutor – Learning Conent Management System
Sakai – Collaboration and Courseware Management Platform
Schools Wikipedia – Wikipedia Selection for schools, which is also available as a DVD download
Floss Manuals – Free Libre Open Source Software Manuals
iTALC – View and control computers in a lab environment
Free Sofware for Schools Catalog – An excellent source of educational software
Clonezilla – A free implementation of system cloning
Nagios – System monitoring
Munin – System and performance monitoring