Craziness: LFNW, OLPC and UTOS, oh my!

It’s been a crazy month here in my little part of the world. My favorite organization, the Utah Open Source Foundation announced it’s conference theme, dates and location. I’m really excited about this year’s possibilities and I keep hearing good things that people want to do during UTOSC 2009.

Now: Life has been hectic, but there’s still some silver lining

I’m currently sitting on a plane headed to Seattle for the Linuxfest NorthWest, where I will give my Fedora Remix presentation again. I’m hopeful that many people will desire to build their own remixes of Fedora. I am certain that there are many potential ideas out there. I’m still working on a kiosk system :)

I’m also interested in meeting with the folks who organize LFNW and talking about some new programs I think will be very beneficial to all Linux/Open Source community conferences. This is where I think the value of collaboration will really help us grow our respective regions into a much bigger/better way to promote free software.

One idea I have going is better collaboration on a conference management system. I sure hope the everyone at LFNW are as keen to helping as they were at SCaLE (hey gang!). This is something that I will be announcing very soon and hope to get a good sized community around.

OLPC: Starting a hacking group

This past Wednesday was the first UTOS-XO hackfest. We spent about 2 hours discussing the new partnership between Utah Open Source, Fedora and the One Laptop groups. The plan, set in motion by my good friend, David Nalley, was to obtain a bunch of XO’s, distribute them across North America to those who would volunteer a few hours a week to develop a fourth grade math curriculum.

We had 11 attendees, with 2 new who volunteered to spend some time developing activities along these lines. To be truthful, I think the UTOS-XO group will really shine and bring forth a good set of activities. We were able to identify 3 different activities to develop with a goal to bring the code back next month so we could ‘sugarize’ them and include them in the XO for fourth graders.

I wanted to mention that two of the volunteers in the room were quite young. Christian is 14 years and Ethan is 11. These two seemed quite capable of creating activities. Before we separated for the evening, Christian already had one component built and was showing me how he had written an activity to add 5-digit numbers together. How exciting!

Feel free to check out the pictures.

UTOS: Growing the Community

In addition to the OLPC hackfest, my role at the Utah Open Source Foundation has been expanded to focus more on the community. I’ve been able to hand off much of the conference planning to a trusty fellow, Will Smith. I’m excited to see what ideas he has in store for this year’s conference.

Because of this change, my role has started to become more involved with marketing and budgeting areas. I’m also very interested in growing a few of the programs UTOS has been doing for a while. For instance, I’m interested in streaming screencasts of the meetings (both video and audio) in the very near future on a limited basis. This is experimental, but should be great.  I’ve been able to get gstreamer to stream vnc connections and audio mostly working and streaming to our server.  It should be just a matter of time before I have a fully working application to show off.

This past week, three of the great folks who run the Utah Open Source Foundation and Conference were interviewed on Technometria, a podcast by Phil Windley.  It’s among the highest rated podcasts on IT Conversations.  We spent a good chunk of an hour talking about the Utah Open Source Conference and just building a community in general.  It was really exciting being interviewed and sharing our opinions.  I look forward to the feedback.

Another great component is the Utah Tech Events Calendar. As of March, I’ve been sending out an email near the beginning of the month with all of the tech events on our calendar. I’m excited to see this grow and continue. One highlight I’ve been seeing is the Geek Lunches and Geek/Blogger Dinners. These once a month activities give those who don’t have a ton of time otherwise, an opportunity to participate in the Utah tech community.

If you are interested in helping out the Utah Open Source community in any capacity, we’d love to have your help, desire and excitement. Please send me an email ( explaining your desire and we’ll get you working on the things that interest you the most. It’s always a good resume builder even if you will learn how to be a good system administrator, programmer or designer. We need your help!