Author: Aaren DeJong


Just last month (August 21-23) was Linux Foundation’s annual North American Open-Source Summit, formerly known as LinuxCon.

LinuxCon

It coincides with Embedded Linux Summit and is also surrounded by other co-located events, including a Linux Foundation AI Foundation meeting, Machine Learning Summit, OpenPower Summit North America, and a few others. This has been a very eventful week for the Linux Foundation events folks, no doubt, and I found myself enjoying the refreshing nature of the Open-Source Summit itself. I’ll go over why, and highlight the event’s features.

OSSummit19

Hot features Aside from the typical breakout session talks that were sprayed across the Hilton Bayfront (more on that in the Representation section), there were interesting other avenues for networking with others. Those include:

  • – Office Hours – gaps of time where industry experts or other roles of note (eg: kernel developers, CTOs) offer an open space and time to ask them questions or just chat. This was a great way to allow people to engage when it’s otherwise difficult for some.
  • – Bookable booths/tables – Similar to Office Hours, the event enabled attendees to book sit-down booths or stand-up cocktail tables for people to meet and talk. These were far less formal, but were definitely well-used by many

Q&A after many of the breakout sessions were always active, for those that I attended, which is a great sign of engaging content.

Representation

This was my second LinuxCon, with the first one being the Toronto located LinuxCon 2016, which was the last one in North America to go by the name LinuxCon in favour of a more ecosystem encompassing name as Open-Source Summit. As I compare both events, I will start by saying this year’s definitely had less sponsor booths than 2016’s LinuxCon. Now, much can happen in 3 years, but for some reason there seems to be less vendors choosing to put booths out for an event focused on what is arguably the ideal generalist open-source conference for North America, behind ATO (All Things Open) and that’s of concern if you ask me.

This is one of those conferences that should have a fair annual turnout of regular Open-Source contributors and consumers in the form of booths, benefitting from the exposure for either hiring, or placing front of mind, and with sales leads as a minor benefit. It definitely takes a certain caliber of business to show up with a booth for this type of conference, but it’s usually worth the challenge.

ibm-redhat

Some core players were representing with booths, being Red Hat, IBM, VMware, Intel, CNCF (with an impressive printout of their Landscape) and Microsoft.

CNCF

Surprisingly, booth sponsor no-shows were Canonical, OpenSUSE, Puppet, Google (Cloud), among others that I can’t recall from 2016’s event, which brings me to think that budgets are focusing away from this conference and/or something about the conference content isn’t key for some players anymore.

As for those who did talks at the conference, there was fair representation from all sorts of industry players who support their staff participating in this event. There were several Canonical staff presenting, among others, bringing some very interesting topics.

Timing

Perhaps this is where I was more frustrated with this conference as much as 2018’s Red Hat Summit, was the number of talks that overlapped in a single time-slot. If you’ve never been to this conference, there is a notion of ‘tracks’ which are content-relevant categories that all sessions are associated with. I feel there were far too many tracks that were arranged in such a way that made them quite difficult to follow-thru the whole conference. Maybe I was the odd case and wanted too much from the schedule, or maybe the tracks need to be curated. I noticed as a speaker I had the option to select what track applied best to my talk. This might be an issue, as many talks apply to several (or none) of the available tracks.

The Rest

Content-wise, it was great to see numerous talks about kubernetes, containers, cloud tools, hyperivsors, automation tools, home-automation suites, network tools, storage layers and alternatives to nearly everything for that matter. It reminds me that the ecosystem of open-source for both enthusiast and enterprise alike is alive, well, and maturing constantly. Food was delicious and the social events were unique, eventful, and well organized.

I had the exciting privilege of speaking about VDO (read my blog about it) on the first day and was happy to have some discussion. For speakers, this grand event was an excellent opportunity to talk to the Linux and open-source community at large about pretty much any related topic.

The 2016 LinuxCon invigorated me to be more a part of the open-source community at large, and now, with my career encompassed essentially entirely of open-source tools for enterprise, this year’s OSSummit was no different, and provided a much needed jolt that the health of open-source for enterprise is alive, well, and surpassing where I thought it would be 3 years ago.

As usual, if you’re curious about open-source for your organization, feel free to reach out!

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