Report from Calgary Linuxfest: better late than never!

The better late than never part of the title is because Calgary Linuxfest took place a couple of weeks ago now, May 6, 2006. So . . . before this gets too old, I want to tell you about my trip to the Calgary Linuxfest. This past May 6, 2006, I had the great pleasure of appearing at the inaugural Calgary Linuxfest. Dave Watkins & CLUG (the Calgary Linux User Group) did a fantastic job of putting the event together. That bodes well for the future of this Linuxfest as an annual event.

I felt particularly honoured to be the keynote speaker at the event, in part, I suppose, because it was the first such event. There were perhaps a hundred people in attendence overall with two tracks of speakers for this one day event. One of the great things about a conference like this is that you get to meet some pretty cool people. It was kind of cool to finally meet Aaron Seigo, Jon Watson, Tony King, to name a few. Aaron Seigo is one of the world’s foremost KDE developers. Jon Watson is a podcasting legend and the original host of the GNU/Linux User Show and now of The Jak Attack. Other speakers included Mike Hillyer, Peter Scott, Lino Ramirez, Kin Wong, Mark Carlson, Gustin Johnson, and Shawn Grover.

The day started with my keynote speech and a little surprise for yours truly. Okay, a big surprise. You see, May 6 is my birthday. Kirstin Morrell from CUUG, thanks to a little tip-off from my buddy, Robert J. Sawyer, arranged to have a cake brought in for me. The audience then joined in to one of the best renditions of “Happy Birthday” ever.

Speaking of speaking . . . I was quite happy with how the keynote turned out — even before the birthday cake was brought out. The speech went over well and I felt really good about it. I wasn’t quite as happy with my afternoon presentation on Linux multimedia however. First of all, there were problems with the equipment in the second room (Aaron Seigo ran into projector issues in the same room earlier). Add to that the fact that I was wickedly tired from lack of sleep and it wasn’t a good start. I’m not saying the presentation was awful, but I can do a heck of a lot better at the worst of times. Anyhow, just to make things worse, about 30 minutes into my presentation, I started losing my voice! Ack!!

Shortly afterward, Aaron Seigo took me to a local University pub and bought me a couple of pints (this is the “free as in beer”). We discussed Linux, open source, and desktop Linux adoption. And we drank our beer. Somehow, after that, I felt much better. [ insert appropriate smiley here ]

Throughout the day, I ducked in and out of probably half of the presentations. All were well presented and well received. The audience needs some recognition here as well. The attendees were, for the most part, genuinely interested in Linux and open source. That kind of enthusiasm is always good for those of us who stand and the front and speak.

Mike Hillyer spoke about MySQL, Dave Watkins covered Linspire, and Jon Watson talked about (wait for it!) podcasting. Aaron Seigo got the final word where he gave a talk about why Linux and open source is good for the world.

After the closing ceremonies, final words from Dave Watkins, and some great door prizes, the day wrapped up with a gathering at a nearby Boston Pizza. All in all, the first Calgary Linuxfest was a great success. Actually, it was fantastic! Let me raise my glass and wish the organizers many future successes.

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