The first couple weeks I was living out here I took the time to get settled in and get a feel for the new place. Then it was off to checking out the local open source tech scene!
I knew coming out here that there were a lot of tech groups in this area, especially once Grant Bowman gave me a link to the The BALE (Bay Area Linux Events) and Mark Terranova started making suggestions for my calendar. Really?? There is something every NIGHT? Now, the ones I can get to easily on public transportation is less than every night, more like every 2-3 days. Still!
My first stop was Silicon Valley LUG on Mar. 3rd “Linux, Android, and Open Source in the Mobile Environment” presented by Alison Chaiken. I took CalTrain down and MJ picked me up at the station. From there we headed over to the meeting hosted over at Symantec. The format did not lend itself to being very social like I’m used to a LUG meetings, but the presentation itself was great.
The next meeting I went to was the weekly Linux meetup, hosted by SF-LUG, down at the hackerspace Noisebridge on March 10th. Pretty casual Linux discussion in one of Noisebridge’s classrooms. It was there where I met Jim Stockford who was organizing a local Open Source Groups table at the Open Source Business Conference and seeking volunteers to help. So I volunteered!
Next meeting? March 14th at Berkeley LUG. MJ and I hopped on BART for a trip under the bay and up to Berkeley. This LUG was pretty social and met at Bobby G’s Pizzeria just a short walk from the downtown BART station. It’s a bit of a trek to make it out to this LUG, but their next meeting will be the upcoming Ubuntu Global Jam Event which I’m helping with.
The evening of March 15th was spent at an SF-LUG meeting at Cafe Enchante on Geary. I took a bus all by myself to get to this one! Luckily it was just the 38L, which goes in a straight line and was easy for me to figure out ;) This was another pretty social meeting, with coffee, a neat crowd, and even a new user who kept the conversation flowing nicely by asking both technical and philosophical questions about Linux and Open Source.
Next up was the Open Source Business Conference on March 17th and 18th. This deserves an entry of its own, so I’ll just focus on the LUG in this entry. While volunteering at the local groups table I was able to meet a number of new people in the area who do volunteer work in groups related to Linux and open source and get a crash course in all the local Linux groups. Lucky for me, Jim put together a couple filers covering Linux and other Open Source groups in the area so I could properly help at the table and answer questions people had – mostly “What are you interested in? There are lots of groups in the area, I’m exploring them too, here are a couple lists!”
I have to admit, by this time I was actually pretty tired. Maybe I should limit my LUG attendance to only a couple per week.
Last night I met up with a woman I’ve known for a few years via women in tech connections and we rode down to Peninsula LUG, what a fun way to meet! The talk was by Akkana Peck on Featherweight Linux. This meeting had a really nice half hour opening which was pretty casual and friendly. The presentation itself was fantastic (must try out some of Akkana’s tips soon!) and it was a pleasure to finally meet Akkana, who I’ve also known for several years online but never had the opportunity to meet until now. After the meeting MJ picked me up and we headed down to a datacenter where his server is hosted to do some work.
This morning I was up early to meet up with a local radio show producer for a segment about Unix-based operating systems, getting stories from people about their involvement. The actual show will be airing on Sunday evening and I’ll have a link to the mp3 soon :)
So, first impressions of the open source scene in SF? Overwhelming and great! But don’t worry Philly friends, nothing could ever replace PLUG. I miss you all!