The 2007 Ohio LinuxFest was great, as expected. Registration numbers were a little lower than last year, and the number of folks who actually checked in was demonstrably smaller than those actually present: just under 1 thousand people checked in, but we had at least half as many more actually walking around the conference.
I worked the check-in desk most of the day. A handful of volunteers -- including my dad -- provided check-in assistance with me. Check-ins were smooth and uneventful for everyone. The vendor booths were well trafficked, and there were a lot of freebies being given away this year. All of the people I spoke with said that the presentations were at least as good as they expected, so I think overall we did a fine job organizing the event.
The only session I attended was Chris J. Davis' Great Code Come From Great Community. Chris provided a quick overview of the various project management models used by most Open Source projects, and concluded that the meritocracy model represented the best choice in terms of community involvement, positive leadership, and overall project health. His presentation was, by design, considerably shorter than the time allotted to him. Chris used the remaining time to engage the audience in a discussion about the concepts he presented, and he asked both Owen and I to join him at the front of the room to help answer questions. The questions asked were very good, and I think the audience was very receptive to the benefits of the meritocracy model.
I spent most of the day at the check-in table, while the others spent most of the day at the Habari table, in the Dot Org section of the vendor tables. From my seat at the check-in table, I saw a steady stream of people asking questions at the Habari table, and from what I learned from Sean, Chris and Owen, most people were pretty interested in it. A few people were looking for new tools in reaction to dissatisfaction with whatever they were currently using; and a few people were passionately against blogging in general. We gave out all of the shirts Owen brought with him, as well as many of the cards Owen produced. I admit that on Saturday morning I wasn't entirely sure that many people would stop by to learn about our project. All in all, the table was a great way to generate interest in Habari!
Of course, OLF was just one part of the weekend! Friday afternoon Sean and his wife joined me for lunch, and a quick tour of the OSU campus. Late Friday night I took Owen and Chris to Club Diversity for a round of chocolate martinis. We had the traditional OLF lunch on Saturday at Bucca di Beppo (although we did not get the Pope Room), and we had dinner after the fest at Barley's. We spent about an hour at the Google-sponsored party after the close of OLF, but we were driven away by the nerdcore rap of Dual Core. The rap itself wasn't bad, it just wasn't at all the kind of thing we were expecting. I invited Sean, his wife, Chris and Owen to retire to my house, were we stayed up late chatting and playing a little Wii.
It was wonderful to meet Sean and his wife, and it was a treat to see Chris and Owen again. I'm energized to continue to work on Habari, and I'm hopeful that some of the folks we met this weekend will pop up on our mailing lists!
You can see Sean's photos of the weekend at his Ohio LinuxFest 2007 Flickr set.