8 reasons LinuxCon is a must-attend event

Why I keep going to LinuxCon, and you should too.

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My son running around at one LinuxCon

Credit: Swapnil Bhartiya

This year LinuxCon North America will be held in Toronto. I have attended and covered LinuxCon every year since 2009, and I will be there again this year.

It is the only tech event that I bring my whole family to. Last year I met Linus Torvalds again and told him that my son is big enough now to run around. He said he knew and pulled out his phone to show me picture of my son chasing Tux the penguin around the venue. My son was more popular than I was...a proud moment for any dad.

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Linus Torvalds and Dirk Hohndel look as my son is chasing the Tux mascot.

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My son playing with Tux

The reason I get excited about this event is that as a Linux user, I feel these are my people, my “tribe.” This is where I belong. In addition to the friendly and welcoming atmosphere, here are a few more reasons why I attend LinuxCon:

Huge umbrella of open source

The Linux Foundation has evolved into a huge umbrella that is home to many big and small open source projects, including the Linux kernel and networking projects like OpenDaylight and CORD.

The foundation has expanded its reach even further with ‘collaborative projects’ where companies work together on different projects under the Linux Foundation banner. Cloud Foundry is a good example of a collaborative project.

LinuxCon has become a common ground for all of these projects to come together under the same roof and open new channels for further collaboration and interaction. It doesn’t matter which technology you are working on, LinuxCon has something for everyone.

Diversity and commonality

LinuxCon is an open source and technology event whose attendees include a great mix of people from various cultural and ethnic and gender backgrounds. Out of six featured keynote speakers, two are women: businesswoman and author Margaret Heffernan and journalist and scientist Ainissa Ramirez.

In addition, many female leaders will be speaking at the event including Nithya Ruff of Sandisk, Donna Dillenberger of IBM, Karen Sandler of the Software Freedom Conservancy, Deb Nicholson of Open Invention Network, Sarah Sharp of Intel, Shuah Khan of Samsung and Rikki Endsley of OpenSource.com.

Great lineup of speakers

In addition to the fantastic lineup of female speakers, other notable people will be taking the stage as well, including author and activist Cory Doctorow, Jim Whitehurst of Red Hat, Brian Behlendorf of Hyperedger Project, Brandon Phillips of CoreOS and Chris Meson, principal author of brtfs.

Care for family

The Linux Foundation recently began providing childcare during LinuxCon so that working parents can attend the event and participate in various sessions. I always bring my children to LinuxCon. This year they will hang out and play with other children so my wife Jen and I can cover the event and meet people.

Great opportunity for networking

At LinuxCon you will meet all kinds of folks: founders, CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, technologists, developers, entrepreneurs, community members and users. The face-to-face discussions are absolutely invaluable. You return home with more contacts, more friends, new perspectives and good memories.

Co-hosted events

LinuxCon is not just about Linux, it spreads to many other open source projects. Container is one of the hottest buzzwords and LinuxCon will co-host ContainerCon where you can hang out with people from the container world.

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Frank Karlitschek enjoying Jaaz at one of the LinuxCon parties.

Awesome parties and tours

The Linux Foundation event team knows that open source is as much about fun as it is about work. LinuxCon takes you to awesome locations and they host amazing receptions, usually reflecting the theme of the city in which it's organized. The New Orleans LinuxCon hosted a Mardi Gras parade and a dinner with live jazz music.  Chicago featured an event on the top floor of the Ritz hotel and a reception at the Museum of Science and Industry. Seattle included the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass museum.  These events create a lot of excitement and, most importantly, more opportunities for people to connect face to face in a fun environment.

You get to meet Linus Torvalds in person

If none of these reasons excite you, then the biggest attraction of LinuxCon is that you get to meet and talk to Linux creator Linus Torvalds.

Torvalds doesn’t do keynote speeches, but he will be onstage with his friend and fellow scuba diver Dirk Hohndel, who just joined VMWare as VP and Chief Open Source Officer.

I will be on site covering the event, so keep an eye on this blog for more coverage.

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