Yes - despite spending much of the time staffing a booth with a Fedora 15 / GNOME 3 demo desktop, I made it back from LinuxFest NorthWest alive and unsullied by rotten eggs. It must be true that people are more polite in person than online!
Just like the first time I went, it was a fun conference with a very laid back West Coast air and lots of good people. Jeff Sandys did great work as always co-ordinating Fedora's presence, snaffling us prime booth space, and staffing the booth for almost the entire weekend.
As Larry Cafiero was unable to make it, I gave his planned 'What's New In Fedora 15' talk with little notice and zero preparation, using the cunning expedient of talking about GNOME 3 for half an hour and then pulling up the feature list and picking out random things to talk about. Many thanks to Spot for bailing me out on a couple of features I knew nothing about (like the dynamic firewall, which actually sounds pretty cool). The talk was pretty well attended and the response was good, though we did get some of the GNOME 3 Greatest Hits as questions, which I tried to field with dignity!
I also gave my planned talk, a new one called "It boots, ship it: Quality assurance in a fast-moving community project", which tries to round up some of the general principles we've worked out in Fedora QA in trying to provide a good QA service using limited resources to a project with a very fast release cycle. I did it without slides for this run, so instead I've put up my notes for the talk here, which gives a pretty good overview if you weren't there. I only had eight or nine people but they were a great audience, attentive and obviously interested and asking good questions - I quite liked the small class feel, which meant we could all sit around one table. Thanks to Robyn for reprazentin'.
I saw Sriram Ramkrishna give his 'introduction to GNOME 3' talk - he was giving it for the first time so there were a couple of rough edges, but overall he did a great job covering the ground in a one hour session and making sure to explain the thinking behind the changes that went into the new interface. His talk was very well attended and the audience feedback was pretty positive, which was great. I spent some time chatting with Sri after the talk and at the Fedora booth and we kicked around some ideas on messaging around GNOME 3 changes, one of which I'm going to split out into its own post soon. I've wanted to meet Sri for a while, so that's one more knocked off the list.
I saw Bryan Lunduke's revised why Linux sucks talk, which was interesting, particularly to see what he'd changed from the previous version. He's still pushing some things that are simply not going to happen - like wholesale adoption of either .deb or .rpm by the whole world - but hey, we all have our windmills. I caught up with him quickly after his talk, which was cool. It was interesting when he did an impromptu distribution straw poll in the middle of the talk - in a room of about 40 people, at least half of the hands went up for Ubuntu. For Fedora? One, and that was me. Biased sample set and blah blah blah, but still interesting, and feeds into some things I've been thinking about for a while. Of course, the attendance for the 'What's New In Fedora' talk (and the popularity of our booth) shows there's still good solid general interest in Fedora out there.
I sadly missed Joe Brockmeier's talk on marketing F/OSS projects as I was giving the Fedora 15 talk at the same time, but I managed to catch up with Joe at the end of the conference and we went out for dinner with a great group including Jakob Perry, a Drupal developer (this is not hard to figure out, as the license plate on his car is DRUPAL) who is one of the main LFNW organizers. It was interesting to get Joe's take on what the Attachmate takeover means for SUSE.
On Sunday afternoon I saw Jesse give his talk on using Eclipse as an end-to-end Python development and debugging environment, which even for someone who only plays a coder on TV was fascinating - I kept meaning to leave and check out some other talks in the second half, but he wouldn't stop saying interesting things and showing off really cool features, damn him. The audience was pretty large and seemed really interested in a lot of the stuff he showed off.
I managed to get the hotel to put the Canucks game on the lobby TV on Saturday night. There was a local high school prom happening in the hotel that evening, and by the third period a good dozen of the guys attending the prom were clustered around the TV with me. Their dates were not best pleased. I think I've caused a serious ripple in the smooth functioning of small town Washington society!
It was a great weekend and lots of fun meeting new people (including Jesse's insane and deeply inappropriate ruddering friends), apologies to anyone or anything I missed out. I'm looking forward to next year's already. Sorry, no pictures - I've lost my compact camera and didn't feel like hauling my DSLR down there. I'm sure others will have them, though.