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    Ubucon-Boulder: It isn’t hard to run a Ubuntu Conference!

    June 4th, 2007

    Neal McBurnett Posted:

    Ubucon-Boulder was born from a desire to quickly and easily get our team together to see what people can do with Ubuntu.

    Back row: Nick, Joey, Tristan, Ringo, Jim M, Bob, Ryan
    Front row: Derek, Rebecca, Kevin, Neal, Jim H, Brandan
    Not pictured: David, Mitch (taking the picture…)

    The Colorado Local Team had sponsored several release parties which were well attended and great fun. But without a projector to show everyone Ubuntu in action, it was hard to learn much. Other conferences were far away or relatively pricey.

    Neal McBurnett and Mitch Mahan had previously been active in local BarCampBoulder gatherings. Those experiences proved that all it takes to make a conference is a venue (with projector and wifi) and some folks willing to plunge in…. Joey Stanford had been at several other Ubucons. Knowing that Google was a perennial sponsor of such events, and that Google had an office in Boulder, he contacted Leslie Hawthorn of Google’s Open Source Program Office who promptly got approval, and Google’s Jim McMaster stepped up to be our gracious and helpful host.

    We wanted to hold the event quickly so we could use it to prepare for our presence at Colorado’s Technology In Education (TIE) Conference. Our teammate Jim Hutchinson had gotten a three-hour conference presentation slot to demo free software in the classroom, and Canonical stepped forward to sponsor an exhibition booth. So we just plunged ahead and set up the Ubucon-Boulder event for Saturday, June 2.

    We had about 16 participants, mostly from the Colorado Front Range (Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs). Tristan Rhodes came out from Utah. The press showed up also – Rebecca Sobol from, one of the premier sources for technical information on Linux and free software.


    Participants registered for the event on our wiki. That meant they got a launchpad id and learned a bit about the wiki first, and allowed us to easily keep track of how many had signed up. It also gave them a chance to indicate what they were interested in and what they would be willing to present about. During the conference we used a list of topics generated from that input and just went around the table letting folks show us their stuff.

    Neal managed the schedule on the wiki in real time.

    Joey Stanford jumped in with a number of good demos for conferences. He showed us how to use avahi to discover other participants, chat sessions and other services on the local network (install service-discovery-applet). He also let us play with the collaborative text editor gobby, and Tilda, his favorite dropdown terminal. He also showed off Stephane’s new bluetooth headset integration code, and talked about Launchpad. The observation that he was registered for a launchpad group named OpenID testers prompted much speculation, but he refused to comment.

    Brandan Lloyd then did a demo of SSH Tunneling – the ever-present lightweight VPN. He showed how you can read mail, proxy thru to internal web sites, etc. His slides and examples are at

    Tristan Rhodes showed us some network tools, in particular NeDi, which can discover and efficiently manage networks that use managed switches via CDP and LLDP. He’s working on packaging it for Ubuntu, and could use some MOTU input.

    Kevin Fries showed us a general technique for making individual Windows applications available on an Ubuntu desktop via a 2X application server running on VMware. And Ringo Kamens did a whirlwind tour of several activist initiatives to preserve our Binary Freedom, including an effort to convince the BBC archives to support platforms other than Windows in their new system to let TV viewers “catch up” on programs they missed [*].

    When Derek Buranen was doing a demo of his GITSO script (Gitso Is To Support Others), we again ran into a complication with the way the wifi network was set up. In order to protect local wireless users, the network prevented one wireless host from directly connecting to another wireless host. So we set up an ad-hoc wireless networking session on an “ubucon” channel. It worked fine, except that network manager had a tendency to switch back to managed mode. Tips on how to avoid that would be appreciated.

    The ad-hoc mode also let Neal McBurnett demo his Nokia 770 Internet Tablet. Neal ran a VNC server on the handheld device, which runs a Debian-based distribution from Nokia. Derek logged into it over the ad-hoc wifi with his vncviewer, and displayed the screen to others with the LCD projector. Stay tuned, this is the sort of cute and handy platform that Canonical’s new Mobile and Embedded project is targeting.

    Our webmaster Nick Verbeck did a demo of the new webpage for our Colorado Local Team. He signed several folks up for the blog.

    Finally, Jim Hutchinson gave us more background and an overview of his TIE (Technology In Education) presentation and classroom lesson plans. Volunteers are needed to staff the booth, June 20-21 in lovely Copper Mountain Colorado. We’ll have an edubuntu LTSP network there, so it will be another opportunity to network with friends and learn more.

    Encouraged by our success this time, we’re planning a larger conference for the fall, before at the Gutsy release party. Stay tuned!

    And don’t be shy about planning your own Ubuntu conference. Even if you just have 5 people that just want to hang out and see how other folks use Ubuntu, you can find someone with an LCD projector and wifi, and Just Do It.

    Neal McBurnett

    8 Responses to “Ubucon-Boulder: It isn’t hard to run a Ubuntu Conference!”

    NerdyNick Says:

    Check out more coverage of Ubucon Boulder at :

    [...] The Colorado LoCo team recently held an Ubuntu conference with the help of Google in Boulder. The conference was held in preparation for its attendance at the Colorado’s Technology In Education (TIE) Conference. A wide variety of topics were covered like avahi, gobby, and SSH tunneling. Neal McBurnett gave a demo of his Nokia 770 Internet Tablet and Jim Hutchinson provided background and an overview of his TIE (Technology In Education) presentation and classroom lesson plans. Read more about the Ubucon and how to hold one for your LoCo at [...]

    Good to see the GNUvelution continues apace! As a keen web design & open source software promoter I love the work the CoLoCo team gets up to. Clean, fresh presentation helps sell open source to the masses and Ubuntu and Edubunto really excel in that regard.

    stevedavid Says:

    Well all i have to say is google rocks.. i dont have words to describe google, even dictionary fails.
    Its my dream to be associated with this organization.
    Addiction Recovery Colorado

    Steven Says:

    Well it seems to be that Ubucon-Boulder is really picking up a pace in its way.Its really nice to be a part of it and with its team getting up at this pace in the field of technology.


    samwest Says:

    well google doing a great work about ubcon boulderwityh the team so i just want to say that it’s a good in the field of technology

    [...] Boulder engineering office.For more details of the event check out:Leslie Hawthorn’s blog postColorado LoCo Team’s blog postTweetThis entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: [...]

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