First post-Covid conference!

It’s been three years since I last attended a in-person conference due to COVID pandemic; not surprisingly my last was also SCaLE, the Southern California Linux Expo, which is the largest Linux conference in North America led by community.

After two consecutive years of calling off the conference due to the pandemic, this year finally it was possible to put it through with a couple of small adjustments: it was pushed to July (normally taken place sometime between January and March) and it moved back to LAX airport area where it has been held for several editions.

The first thing that caught my attention -for the good reasons- was that the conference organizers put up a lot of effort in making sure that everyone stayed safe during the conference. When I arrived to the country, I wasn’t asked for a proof of vaccination at the airport, but conference staff did verify for it as a requirement for getting your badge, and they even offered tests and masks for attendees. I understand that this made a few people uncomfortable as the mask mandate has been suppressed nationwide, but it didn’t represent a big deal for the majority as most of the attendees wore the mask most of the time.

Traditionally, Thursday -the first day of the conference- is used mostly for workshops, activity days and community get together. I didn’t have much activity this day since I arrived in the afternoon to the hotel, but I still had the chance to say hello to my good old friends that I’ve made thorugh these years in SCaLE. This day we also made sure that our booth was ready for exhibition days, we had a lot of Fedora swag for give away to our visitors!.

On Friday morning, I was able to attend the DevOps Day LA, which -as described by themselves- is a volunteer-organized conference dedicated to the DevOps community and professionals who wish to improve the interaction and integration between the traditional silos of Development and Operations. Very interesting talks and exhibitions for those of us who works in the field.

Due to my booth duty, I don’t always have a chance to attend as many talks as I wish to, but -when possible- I would not miss the keynotes of the conference, they’re usually very insightful and given by outstanding members of the community and the industry. This Friday’s keynote was in charge of Seamous Blackley and it was no exception, it was an extraordinary keynote about the importance of independence and it was just awesome.

Saturday is always the busiest day, as the expo floor is opened all day long and it is also the day with more visitors and ballroom traffic. It started with an interesting keynote from Aeva Black about how the success of open source comes with a resposability for developers and contributors. I won’t provide an extended summary but I’d recommend watch it complete in the conference’s YouTube channel.

More exciting things happened on Saturday. For me, it was a great honnor having Dan Walsh visiting our booth while I was at it and to have the opportunity of talking with him for a moment. Dan is a Distinguished engineer who has contributed to several technologies, incluiding Podman, a growing technology for managing containers and an excellent alternative for Docker.

Later that day he gave a very interesting talk on the current state of Podman and how it has evolved over the years

From our project, we had a talk from Ben Cotton about his experience in maintaining a bug tracker for a open source project as big and important as Fedora is.

And finally, Saturday in SCaLE can’t be complete without the traditional Game Night, a place for attendees to gather, play, eat and enjoy a good time no matter how physically tired you are from the busy day!. This year we had a -very good and funny- rapper called MC Frontalot who presented an entertarning show for us, super cool!.

And then, along came Sunday, the last day of the conference. Usually a less busy day as many people had already left, most exhibitors had already run out of swag (not us, of course) and there’s a shorter schedule of talks.

Cherry on the top for Sunday and the whole conference was the keynote by Vint Cerf -recognized as one of the fathers of the internet- who provided us with an insight of his admirable work since its beginning in the 1960’s. A magnificent keynote that can be watched complete here.

Before he started his keynote, I approached him and had the opportunity to talk with him for a short moment. Honestly, it was hard for me to find a topic moderately intelligent to talk with him, so I reminded him of his visit to México and the toy (a balero) the President gave him in that occasion. He told me that the President was very good with it and also that is a memory he cherish a lot, thanking me for bringing it up.

Finally, SCaLE is all about community. At the end of the conference, we had a little get-together at a near noodle shop with people representing other communities (even other linux distros) like Opensuse and Ubuntu. We had a great time and we all agreed that we can’t wait for the next edition to happen. By the way, that will be in March 2023 back to Pasadena!

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