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LinuxFest Northwest is Coming in April (Video)

Roblimo posted about 2 years ago | from the it's-always-good-to-get-together-with-1200-close-friends dept.

Linux 43

Jakob Perry, today's interviewee, is a volunteer who helps make LinuxFest Northwest happen. This is an event produced by the Bellingham Linux Users Group that "has been a tradition in Bellingham, WA since 2000." Bellingham is a small town about a 1.5 hour drive away from Seattle, and a shorter distance from Vancouver, Canada. Last year they had 1200 people. They have a core group of about 10 year-round volunteers, with as many as 60 participating in the event itself, many of whom are students at Bellingham Technical College, which is where LinuxFest Northwest is held.

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The internet is great! (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#42719791)

Where you can find a bunch of people who follow simulacra views and ideals, where you actually feel like you are a majority.

While the true majority doesn't care that much to go hunting for similar people.

There is nothing about that /. summary... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42719825)

...which entices me to want to watch a video about the event.

So, what do you do at these things? (1, Funny)

Sheetrock (152993) | about 2 years ago | (#42719951)

I'm assuming installing Linux and using Linux are on the agenda, and drawing a blank on the rest. Disputes over the best distro? Presentation of devices that run Linux that nobody knows run Linux? Competitions to get two sound cards in the same system to work reliably with both ALSA and PulseAudio?

Re:So, what do you do at these things? (5, Insightful)

rkfig (1016920) | about 2 years ago | (#42720521)

There is a room dedicated to installing and/or troubleshooting installs for the whole event. Of course there is the vendor area showing whatever wares they have. Mostly it is sessions covering a broad range of topics. I saw Monty Widenius talk about MySQL upcoming features and such a few years ago. There was a session about how red light cameras actually work from a software and hardware point of view last year. Developing for this or that, embedded platforms and such. Generally one session for either KDE or Gnome and why they are either good or bad. There is an electronics area where they are showing 3D printers, Lego Mindstorms and that sort of thing usually. A guy I know does a whole day session demonstrating the automated beer homebrewing system that he made which utilizes Linux. He also supplies the home made beer and soda for the after party. Jeopardy style game session that I think is called Alpha Nerd. Most of the sessions are someone showing something they created to "scratch their own itch," such as the git based backup system session I saw either last year or the year before. It seems like there are usually 20-30 different sessions at least scheduled throughout the day, and a raffle drawing at the end with some great prizes. Also, the culinary department of the school has a great lunch, usually salmon, steak sandwiches, or some vegetarian option I can't recall, for a very reasonable price.

Re:So, what do you do at these things? (1)

Sheetrock (152993) | about 2 years ago | (#42720695)

That sounds pretty good. I figured there had to be something more to it if 1500+ people were showing up. 18 years in and my imagination with regard to Linux still only goes so far as to web browse, write code, and beg WINE to run games properly. Though I certainly wouldn't turn away automated beer if it came in the next Ubuntu.

Re:So, what do you do at these things? (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 years ago | (#42720787)

Morning Agenda:

8:00 AM - Registration
8:05 AM - Slapfight about which distro is superior to the others
9:00 AM - Demonstration of upcoming commercial software for Linux
9:05 AM - Resume slapfights
10:00 AM - Open Mic comedy, mostly consisting of jokes involving blondes and "sudo"
11:00 AM - Symposium extolling the virtues of GNOME 3
11:01 AM - Break for lunch

Here's my agenda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42720941)

8:00 AM - Registration
8:02 AM - try to get comps (running Linux) to work without fiddling.
5:00 PM - someone finally asks if there's an OSX comp in the house

Population (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 years ago | (#42719981)

"Bellingham is a small town about a 1.5 hour drive away from Seattle, and a shorter distance from Vancouver, Canada. Last year they had 1200 people."

Bellingham, or the LinuxFest?

Re:Population (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42720493)

The obvious answer is both - the town consisted entirely of LinuxFest attendees.

Re:Population (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 2 years ago | (#42721289)

Bellingham, or the LinuxFest?

It's a trick question. In the daytime, Bellingham's population triples as thousands of Canadians descend on the town snapping up cheaper milk, cheese and Costco vodka.

Re:Population (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42721607)

Bellingham's population triples during the summer month weekends due to cross border shopping, but when WWU is in session for the school year, the student population dilutes the bump caused by our northern visitors. One thing is true any time of the year -- there is absolutely no point in going to a supermarket on the weekend. Everything on sale is sold out, the aisles are totally packed, and there's no place to park unless you walk to the store from home. And don't forget about gas. Protip -- never rearend a Canadian tagged car driving north -- there's a good chance there's an extra 20 gallons of gas in the trunk.

Re:Population (1)

HungWeiLo (250320) | about 2 years ago | (#42729597)

...and to fill up gas on the way down to the Premium Outlets, where they return with 20 Coach bags on each woman's arm (I swear, customs officer - I brought these down from Vancouver and therefore are not subject to import duties. Wink.)

I went for a walk with my future wife at the time in the area, and accidentally stumbled upon the 2000 LinuxFest. They had just set up and didn't even have an entrance sign at the time. She noted at the time "what's that smell?" We walked around for about 15-20 minutes and realized it was a Linux convention. They were doing a conference/workshop on concurrency or something like that.

Re:Population (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42721523)

I know you were kidding, but Bellingham is the 12th-largest city in Washington state. It's a college town; Western Washington University is there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellingham,_Washington [wikipedia.org]

Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42720005)

All these wizards in one room

Sticker (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | about 2 years ago | (#42720025)

Tell him to take that sticker out of his light so he looks less a fool.

beer (3, Informative)

tehlinux (896034) | about 2 years ago | (#42720101)

My buddies do the brewing automation system presentation. Pretty cool.

http://www.linuxautomation.org/ [linuxautomation.org]

Easy to book vendors (2)

drosboro (1046516) | about 2 years ago | (#42720135)

Since Bellingham is already a hot-spot for Vancouver-ites doing their cross-border shopping, it's gotta be easy to book vendors! Looks like a great event.

Re:Easy to book vendors (2)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | about 2 years ago | (#42720581)

Since Bellingham is already a hot-spot for Vancouver-ites doing their cross-border shopping, it's gotta be easy to book vendors! Looks like a great event.

Not necessarily. Unless you hit a sale at Fry's [frys.com] , computer stuff is often cheaper in Vancouver than in Bellingham or Seattle.

My criterion for bringing something back is 50% off the Canadian price, or just plain unobtainable.

The border people can be unpredictable: I've been waived through and told to have a nice day on a day trip with $800 worth of stuff, and I've done all the paperwork for $50. On one memorable trip I had collected a new telescope mount [losmandy.com] in Anacortes [buytelescopes.com] . Even the cashier said "ouch!" when she punched it up in the computer.

...laura

Re:Easy to book vendors (1)

drosboro (1046516) | about 2 years ago | (#42720797)

Well, your criteria is a lot stricter than mine... I just need my trip across the border to save me money after I factor in my time... So, when I can get down, pick up a mail-ordered bit of electronics (e.g. a camera for my daughter's birthday, about $40 less than available in Canada), a tank of gas (saving about $20), and some milk and cheese (saving another $20 or so), it becomes a worthwhile trip - I live very close, so the round trip is only about 45 minutes including border waits, most of the time. Add in the fact that I find the drive rather enjoyable, and I make the trip fairly often.

You are right - the border folks can be a tad unpredictable. But lately I've found them much more likely to let you through (assuming you are upfront about what you've got and are in possession of your receipts), even with largeish amounts (several $100s), than they are to ask you to go inside.

If you like beer, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42720151)

the after-party is highly recommended.

Re:If you like beer, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42720499)

Is that when the lardasses start looking less ugly and morbidly obese?

Re:If you like beer, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42720683)

Maybe all the linux users can invite their "Canadian girlfriends" too!

It's not just the beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42721451)

The beer may be decent, but it's not the only attraction. [businessweek.com]

First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42720233)

apk is a troll

Looks fun (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42720263)

How can I help?

Be Warned Slackware Users (1)

drkstr1 (2072368) | about 2 years ago | (#42720345)

The NWLF has no love for a Slackware fan. Make sure to put a Debian sticker (or something FOSSie) on your back back or you may be harassed by the locals. And under no circumstances are you to mention anything related to BSD! Wearing sandals with socks will help you blend in. Just keep your head down and you will be ok.

This public safety announcement has been brought to you by your local Washington State Church of the SubGenius.

Re:Be Warned Slackware Users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42721705)

Maybe you think that is funny? It really isn't.

Re:Be Warned Slackware Users (1)

anagama (611277) | about 2 years ago | (#42721737)

Clearly humor but I will say that my first exposure to PC-BSD a few years back was NWLF -- they had a table in the main room so the harassment couldn't have been that bad. Socks and sandals though are very comfortable -- you can wear them all the time, not just at LFNW.

Anyway, I tried PC-BSD I think (can't actually remember but I know I did take cd) but never became a user for no particular reason other than I was already more familiar with linux. It had what seemed a user friendly notion: all of a the libraries needed for any particular application are bundled with that app. Takes more space of course, but then, hard drives have gotten pretty big in recent years and you don't have to worry about incompatible dependencies.

Maybe I'll give it another shot because I hate Ubuntu, Fedora is crashy on my system, so is Mint -- I was going to spend this evening desktopifying cento-os and seeing how that goes, but maybe it's time to try something totally new.

Re:Be Warned Slackware Users (3, Informative)

Smauler (915644) | about 2 years ago | (#42722453)

Socks and sandals though are very comfortable -- you can wear them all the time, not just at LFNW.

You do actually know that socks and sandals are not looked down upon just because they're not comfortable, right? There is another reason.

I admit it - I'm a fashion Nazi. Socks and sandals just hurt me when I see them. I feel physical pain whenever I see socks and sandals. I'm not a stylish person - most of the stuff I wear is pretty generic. However, I'd prefer someone come in to work with an emu costume on rather than socks and sandals. Seriously. You hurt me when you wear socks and sandals.

Re:Be Warned Slackware Users (1)

anagama (611277) | about 2 years ago | (#42722473)

Well the only downside with socks and sandals is stubbing your toe. In that sense, I totally feel your pain!

Re:Be Warned Slackware Users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42721741)

Must have been tough for the PCBSD, FreeBSD, and FreeNAS booth last year. I wonder why they were so busy talking to people? Probably trying to defend themselves from haters, I suppose.

As for the lack of love for Slackware fans, there's nothing endearing about being stuck in the past.

Re:Be Warned Slackware Users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42723041)

Who's stuck in the past? The Slackware philosophy lives on in many distros.

Maddog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42720893)

I remember going to LinuxFest Northwest around 2003 or so. The keynote speaker was some hippie with a beard nicknamed Maddog.

I go every year (3, Informative)

steveha (103154) | about 2 years ago | (#42721029)

LinuxFest Northwest is a great event. I encourage you to go if you can.

Here are a couple of articles I wrote for Linux Journal about LFNW:

http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/6839 [linuxjournal.com]
http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/8339 [linuxjournal.com]

At LFNW I have attended some really outstanding lectures, sometimes by famous or important people. George Dyson [wikipedia.org] lives in the area and he sometimes gives a talk; every time I have attended one of his talks it was great.

They have a raffle with some cool prizes every year. There are always O'Reilly books, and sometimes they have things like "one year of virtual server hosting".

The Bellingham Technical College is a great venue for the event. Lots of parking, lots of classrooms for talks, lots of space for the vendor hall, a snack bar that serves espresso drinks... they also serve up a lunch; usually on Saturday the lunch offers salmon grilled over a wood fire.

I hope to see you there.

Not really a smalll town (1)

moonwatcher2001 (2710261) | about 2 years ago | (#42721293)

Population is over 80,000.

It''s great conference - I've driven up from Seattle a couple times. In addition to Linux talks there are talks about languages and projects people are doing on Linux. One year I went to a talk by a guy who was writing a book on early computers (EDVAC I think)

Re:Not really a smalll town (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42722623)

I grew up in Bellingham. It's small.

attendance overstated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42721755)

They don't keep track of actual attendance, but estimate it. The attendance number is most likely a total for the 2 days with quite a bit of overlap.

Let's not forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42722831)

Bellingham was also blown up but the launch of an Orion nuclear-bomb propulsion space ship by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle in FOOTFALL en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Footfall .

Local advice for travelers... (4, Informative)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about 2 years ago | (#42723343)

Bring a towel.

While most of you think that's a cute HHGttG reference (OK, it is...), this is the Northwest...it rains. A lot. An umbrella wouldn't be a bad idea. Really.

If you're staying in a local motel, AVOID THOSE LOCATED ON SOUTH SAMISH BLVD. The local cops keep all the crack-heads, tweakers and other various riff-raff confined to the daily/weekly/monthly motels along this street--no need for you to go looking for trouble, it will find you if you stay there for long. The better motels are located north of Lakeway Blvd. (including the Quality Inn right on Lakeway. It's one of those fancy ones). The one exception to this rule is the Shamrock Motel in North Bellingham--I hear more call-outs on the police-dispatch frequencies referencing this motel then any other address in Bellingham. Avoid it.

Bring an UP TO DATE street map, especially if you're going to be driving anywhere besides the Technical College--Bellingham has the most ill-designed street layout of any city I've ever been to, including San Francisco. Not going to vouch for Google maps or TomTom like devices either...really, get a map.

Bellingham is notorious for having the highest fuel prices in the Northwest. If you're driving in from the south, gas up at the Skagit Valley Casino--lowest gas prices in the area as it is on native lands (Upper Skagit Indian Tribe). They also have cheap, decent buffets. They're located 15 mins south of Bellingham. If you're driving in from the North, the same can be found at the Silver Reef Casino just north of Bellingham, west on Slater Dr. from I-5 (Lummi Indian Tribe).

Hope that helps.

Re:Local advice for travelers... (1)

steveha (103154) | about 2 years ago | (#42731147)

this is the Northwest...it rains. A lot. An umbrella wouldn't be a bad idea. Really.

Meh. Most of us in the Northwest don't fuss with umbrellas, because most of the time it rains very gently. You can walk around quite a while without really getting wet. I wear a hat to keep rain off my glasses, and I wear a coat if I will be out for more than a couple of minutes, but you should be able to make it from the parking lot to the fest without melting.

In the Pacific Northwest, it sort of mists for days or weeks or months at a time, so the ground is usually damp, the sun is hidden behind grey clouds, and it's dreary and depressing. But it rarely pours down so hard you get really wet walking around in it. (I'm in the Seattle area but I think Bellingham is pretty similar.)

If you're staying in a local motel, AVOID THOSE LOCATED ON SOUTH SAMISH BLVD. The local cops keep all the crack-heads, tweakers and other various riff-raff confined to the daily/weekly/monthly motels along this street--no need for you to go looking for trouble, it will find you if you stay there for long.

Hmm. I have stayed many times at the Motel 6 at the south end of Samish Way, and I haven't seen any trouble. Of course, I was early to bed and early to rise; maybe if I had walked around at 2am I might have seen the riff-raff.

But if you check the LinuxFest NW hotels guide page [linuxfestnorthwest.org] you will note that none of the recommended hotels are on Samish Way. (And of course, LFNW is on the north end of town, so why not stay in a place on the north end.)

The one exception to this rule is the Shamrock Motel in North Bellingham--I hear more call-outs on the police-dispatch frequencies referencing this motel then any other address in Bellingham. Avoid it.

Ironically, I stayed at the Shamrock Motel last year before LinuxFest. I believe you about the police call-outs.

The Shamrock Motel is very inexpensive. It's also old... I'd estimate it was built in the early 50's or something like that. Rooms have electric baseboard heaters and no air conditioning (not that you need AC in April in Bellingham). The room was shabby but clean; the sheets smelled like bleach. There was a flat panel TV on the wall, the newest thing about the room. Their web site says they have free WiFi, but I couldn't get a decent signal from my room; I reckon they probably have a single consumer-grade WiFi access point set up in their office!

I don't think the folks who run the place are trying to make a den of iniquity... but I remember there was a sign up front saying something like "if you stay here you need to pay, don't ask us to let you owe us." I think the people staying at the Shamrock are likely to be poor.

I stayed there because I didn't plan far enough ahead and the places I wanted to go were already booked. I'm not in a hurry to stay at the Shamrock again. But as I said, the room was clean, and I wish no ill will upon the folks who run the place.

Most years I have just driven my car up from home, and not used a motel at all. Last year I decided to take Friday off from work and ride my bicycle to Bellingham, so I needed a place to sleep. I'm planning to do the same thing again this year, but this year I want to stay at the Hampton Inn because it is the one that will have a hacker room [linuxfestnorthwest.org] . I don't know what the hacker room will be like but I figure that is the place to stay.

Oh, and if you have a car and want to stay somewhere really nice, the LFNW hotels page has the Fairhaven Inn. I have never stayed there, but Fairhaven is an old neighborhood that has been transformed into an upscale place with shops and restaurants, so my guess is that the Fairhaven Inn is the nicest place on the LFNW hotels page.

Bring an UP TO DATE street map, especially if you're going to be driving anywhere besides the Technical College--Bellingham has the most ill-designed street layout of any city I've ever been to, including San Francisco. Not going to vouch for Google maps or TomTom like devices either...really, get a map.

Hmm. I have used both a TomTom and Google Maps on my phone when driving to LFNW, and both have worked perfectly. The LFNW guys have their act together, and they have big signs at major intersections showing which way to go; I think both the nearest exits from I-5 have good signs directing you to LFNW.

But last year on my bicycle, all I brought were turn-by-turn directions printed from Google Maps, and somewhere near south Samish Way the directions told me to turn on a street that didn't exist. I couldn't figure out where to go, and I bitterly wished I had brought some sort of map. I tried using Google Maps on my phone in GPS navigator mode, and it kept trying to make me merge onto I-5... not on a bicycle! Finally I just started riding north by northwest, playing it by ear, and then at a major intersection saw a sign directing toward the Fest and I worked it out. Anyway, in a car I think you are okay using GPS navigation. It never hurts to have a real map, but I will be content with just Google Maps on my phone. (I have a new phone with a better version of Android and the maps work better anyway.)

If you're driving in from the south, gas up at the Skagit Valley Casino--lowest gas prices in the area as it is on native lands (Upper Skagit Indian Tribe).

This is excellent advice. Gas stations on Indian land are able to undercut gas stations on non-Indian land because of WA state taxes on gas. And as far as I know, Bellingham sells a lot of gas to folks from Canada so they can get away with charging a bit more.

Wish it were closer (1)

JC61990 (2653877) | about 2 years ago | (#42725013)

I wish there were more events on the east coast. I live in NY, i rarely get to see many events out here. I've never been to a Linux event before, something i would like to do one day. But traveling across the country is not something i can really afford right now (broke college student). Maybe next time around there will be something closer

Freeze (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42730951)

All this time living in Seattle and I never knew about LinuxFest. Sounds like they could use a lesson in promoting, that or I'm guilty of the seattle breeze/freeze and don't notice the flyers... In my defense I have to watch the ground or I'm likely to trip on the thousands of potholes and cracks that plague each and every block.

It's just seems like there are so many tech junkies and Linux fans that we'd hear more about it especially in the immediate area. Either way now that I know I'm there!

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