Friends gathered once again in South Carolina to learn about Linux and check out what is new in the Linux community. It is a time of learning as well as time of camaraderie and a over all great time if you are a fan of Linux and Open Source technologies.
My trip to SELF started on Thursday as my new found friend, Ed Liddle and I headed down to my Mom’s house for a pitstop. Mom and Dad put together a great dinner of Smoked Pork Roast and Chicken and all the fixens and we rested up for the rest of the trip to South Carolina. After we woke up, we grabbed a quick breakfast and headed over to Spartanburg, SC to check in to the hotel. The trip through the Smokies to the Piedmont was uneventful as much as it was gorgeous! All trips to Linux Fests should have scenery like this!
After arrival in Spartanburg, Ed and I unloaded the van and met Dann Washko of the Linux Link Tech Show and Chad Wollenberg of the Linux Basement Podcast. We hung out with some of our fans in the bar and caught up on things since we last talked on the show. Eventually, the crowd grew to a point where we decided to go get dinner. We ate across the street from the venue at a Sushi Bar called the Sake Grill. Many had Sashimi and other forms of sushi and I had some stir fry that was great! What was even better was eating with friends I only see twice a year.
Eventually, the rest of the Tech Show came down from their rooms after resting up from their drive and we headed to the pre party. The pre party was kind of fun, but I mostly hung out with my good friend Linc before turning in to rest up for Saturday, the meat of the Southeast Linuxfest.
Saturday, we setup our booth across from the folks at Linux in the Ham Shack, the Free Software Foundation and next to us a guy from OpenOffice.org. In that time, we were able to chat amongst our neighbors while we setup the booth. Finally, we started having people hit the stand for T-Shirts and raffle tickets. We raffled off books from Prentice Hall and Apress as well as two great pieces of hardware. We had a Nexus One and a Neuros Link “Phantom” to give away.
As the day went on, we all got a chance to checkout the booths at Southeast Linuxfest. I saw the guys at Zareason, some ambassadors at the Fedora Project booth, Nerd Core Rapper Dual Core and many others. Ed picked up CD’s from Dual Core and he was nice enough to copy some mp3s to his iPod as well.
Max Spevack of Red Hat did a excellent job at the closing keynote, but then came the part everyone was waiting for. Prizes. We passed out our prizes as well as the prizes from the Southeast Linuxfest as well. The Neuros Link “Phantom” complete with Keymote and Remote and that went to a awesome 12 year old named Ian who was really excited to win this great machine. The final prize was a system from Pogo Linux. Jon “Maddog” Hall did the drawing for us since we also had tickets for the system. Maddog did a great job with the drawing.
After the keynote, we packed a great BBQ place in Spartanburg called Carolina BBQ. We had some pulled pork, chicken, hush puppies and more. The waitress, Tabitha did a wonderful job keeping us supplied with drinks and getting the food.
We then all headed to the party on Saturday night and listened to Dual Core rapping about stuff we care about and headed back to our rooms to collapse.
Sunday was sparsely attended, but I still had a great time chatting with my co-horts of the Tech Show as well as Claudio Miranda of the Linux Basement Podcast. I even got to see part of a talk on Linux Multimedia Workflow before getting ready to go home. If I had to say anything bad about the show is that there was no incentive for attendance on Sunday since the prizes had all been given out. I think some reorganizing of the schedule may make Sunday better.
While I didn’t get to see many talks, for me, the best part of the show is the hallway track as SELF President Dave Yates calls it. Talking with fans and friends and other people who are into the exact same things I am is very liberating and fun. It’s great to be in a place and rattle off something technical in a conversation and not get a glazed over look from the other half of the conversation! 😀 Plus, when your hanging out with great friends chatting about stuff we care about, well I know of nothing better. The talks are awesome, but catching up with those who you only have met on the internet before is way better. It’s not long until the Ohio LinuxFest 2010 and I cannot WAIT!
Finally, I hope to see y’all next year in the GNU South! (I hope!) If they have a show next year, and you love Linux, you need to check out the Southeast Linuxfest. You will have a great time.