Conferences Suggestions

At work, we use Linux (and Debian, in specific) for a lot of different things: everything from our phone system (running on Asterisk) to file serving and running some proprietary applications. I’m one of the people that finds, sets up, and maintains these systems, and I write code for our in-house use as well. I like to learn from others, and get to know others that may have things in common with me and with our environment. So going to conferences is a useful thing to do.

I’m hoping that some reader out there will have a good suggestion for a conference I ought to attend. Here are some that I’ve looked into and my thoughts on them:

  • Usenix Annual Tech Conference: I went last year. There were some very good talks, but the audience size was not all that large. I got to meet some peers there, but I didn’t get to talk in-person to anybody I’d worked with online before. (LISA being in fall/winter means it’s too early to consider it just yet)
  • LinuxWorld Conference & Expo: My general impression of LWCE in the past has been that its technical talks aren’t very technical; that is, they either cover things I already know or don’t care about. They are starting to publish their program this year, and I see a few interesting things though. There have traditionally been a lot of Debian folks at the .org pavillion.
  • Debconf: It seems to be focused almost exclusively on developing the Debian operating system, rather than on using it. While I am a Debian developer and have been for quite awhile, I would find new uses of Debian to be more interesting than new ways to hack on Debian. Plus, the insanely early registration requirements means that it’s too late to go this year anyhow. (And my brother is getting married right in the middle of it.)
  • OSCon: There look to be some interesting talks in the database area, and some about Xen and virtualization, and Simon PJ (one of the ghc hackers) will be there. So this would be interesting, though somewhat light on the admin side of things.
  • OLS: Seems very focused on the kernel, and not much else. That is of interest, of course, but is one piece of many. Though there was a talk about Linux deployment at Nortel that sounded interesting.

My leading candidates are probably Usenix and OSCon. I’m interested to hear what people think, especially those that have attended some of these conferences.

4 thoughts on “Conferences Suggestions

  1. How about Lots of people you’ll never meet in the northern hemisphere, plus a wide variety of topics – from hard-core kernel to scripting languages, from X to art creation, from XMPP to software designed radio. Plus the community-run miniconfs – Debian, Education, Gaming, PostgreSQL and Virtualisation to name a few. I’m possible biased, since I help organise one (it moves city each year, being organised by a new team which keeps things fresh), but there’s a large repeat crowd of overseas attendees to back me up. Finally, you’ll get a lovely summer holiday in January.

  2. Sysadmin John Goerzen posted a list of events he was thinking of attending. I sent him mail explaining that we were trying to expand the sysadmin content at OSCON and asked him what he’d like to see. One item caught…

  3. I’ve found that most of the big conferences are not really focused on solving problems.

    Instead, I recommend people become active in their local Linux users group. There you can do a lot more peer learning, and begin to get some sense of who has clue and who does not.

    Some IRC channels are pretty good for specific problems, but it can be a crapshoot if you don’t know the people.

    Contact me if you decide you’d like to organize a Linux SysAdmin conference, I’d help out and sponsor.

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