Yesterday was the second annual OhioLinux conference. This was my first time at this event, but my second Linux / Open Source conference. The very first conference I attended was OSCON 2002, in San Diego. That was an awesome experience, but I didn't get as much out of it as I could because I didn't really know anyone there. I didn't do much social networking, and didn't really go out of my way to meet people.
OhioLinux was a completely different story, though. Jesuit and DrBacchus from #wordpress drove up from Kentucky for the event, so I spent most of the day with them. I also ran into a number of familiar faces from the Central Ohio Linux User Group, which was a pleasant surprise.
Overall the conference was okay. The introductory keynote was a rambling, confusing, boring speech. A handful of attendees were both in the conference hall and in #ohiolinux on irc.freenode.net, were the keynote was mercilessly lambasted. Indeed, the IRC discussion was on several occasions more interesting than the scheduled presentation. And though most of the chatter was goofiness, it proved extremely handy to be able to ask someone sitting in the other room to report on the goings-on in that presentation. Out-of-band conversations inside the presentations were common at OSCON2002, too (and probably most geek conferences, any more), but this was my first personal experience with it. It was fun, and definitely helpful.
As DrBacchus notes, several of the speakers and presentations were rough around the edges, but I'd take that over glossy marketing any day. Only the Asterisk and Novell guys seemed to be blatantly pushing their sales agenda, whereas the other talks (that I attended, at any rate) were geared almost exclusively toward education.
DrBacchus gave two presentations, "Optimizing Apache" and "What's so Great About Apache2?", both of which were informative and easy to digest. DrBacchus is a terrific speaker, and a great guy to boot! The talk titled "Using Open Source Tools to Solve Big Problems: Email" piqued -- but quickly lost -- my interest. I'm sure for some it was a good introduction to email server management and spam mitigation, but for me it was mostly justification that what I've been doing all along is largely The Right Thing(TM).
I only caught a portion of maddog's closing comments, but what I heard was powerful. "Linux is community," he said. Absolutely. It was great to talk shop with fellow enthusiasts. It was great to put faces to names. It was great to share the energy with the other 600 attendees. I can't wait for another opportunity to do this again!