April 25, 2023

A month ago, I had the opportunity to head down to Pasadena, California to join members of the open source community at SCaLE20X. This was my second SCaLE, and the first time I had been to one held in the original Pasadena location.

On the first day of the conference, I assisted Roller Angel with running a full-day FreeBSD workshop. The goal of the day was to help people install FreeSBD on either a virtual machine or cloud device, install and run a desktop environment, set up a basic jail, create a local ports repository, and more. While it mostly went off without a hitch, we did run into a small issue when Vultr (the cloud provider we were using) was unable to process card payments, sending us scrambling to find a different provider for those attendees. The turnout was great and we got a wide range of participants in the workshop, from FreeBSD newbies, to experienced users wanting to put FreeBSd on their new machine. If you are interested in going through the workshop in your own time, Roller Angel has posted it online as a text file which can be found here.

I also attended the SCaLE expo hall, and staffed the FreeBSD table there for most of the event. Talking to members of the open-source community is always my favorite part of these events, and we bring plenty of FreeBSD swag to hand out while there. As I have recently been working on an expansive FreeBSD timeline, I was particularly interested in many of the attendees who had been working with Unix-like operating systems since their inception. My favorite conversation at the booth was with a FreeBSD user who told us a story of when, as a child, he had taken apart his parent’s computer and installing FreeBSD. The parents, horrified when they saw the state of the computer and were greeted by the unfamiliar “daemon” when it booted, grounded him and forbade him from using FreeBSD. Fortunately, he still uses FreeBSD to this day (Though I didn’t ask what his parents thought about it now).

I believe that SCALE was, yet again, another successful advocacy effort to encourage more people to use and contribute to FreeBSD. The workshop continues to be a highlight, and each year we see more attendees. I’m looking forward to SCaLE21X and hopefully meeting even more of the FreeBSD community!