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Our team arrived in green and cloudy (haha get it?) Portland on Tuesday afternoon. We dropped by the Oregon Convention Center in the evening to attend the Opening Expo Hall Reception. The crowd of attendees waiting for the reception to start was impressive. Free drinks and food were served everywhere as people mingled among the Expo floor.

Bluehost was the sponsor of the night. Their booth, featuring a ping-pong tournament as the main attraction, was one of the first ones we encountered as we walked through the doors. They are a large web-hosting company based in Utah, hosting over at least 1.9 million domains with its associate companies.

The bluehost booth, didn’t get a picture of the super-ninja player though.

They had a super-ninja ping-pong player on staff. He started the game down 8 points, and if anyone could get 3 points off of him, they would win one year of free web hosting from Bluehost. No strings attached, that was how confident he was. I couldn’t resist, and challenged him. In less than five minutes, I was thoroughly beaten, but still walked away with a cool T-shirt.

Our first full day of the conference began the next day at the FreeBSD table. I had the honor of meeting board members Justin Gibbs and Deb Goodkin of the FreeBSD Foundation. They’re both very nice and good-humored people. We chatted about a variety of topics, from the nine board members spread out across the world to the chemical BPA compound and its effects on aquatic ecosystems.

Justin Gibbs and Matt Olander in front of the FreeBSD Foundation table.

Throughout the day, FreeBSD fans and BSD newcomers stopped by our table. Denise and I passed out FreeBSD horns, DVDs, and stress balls while Deb helped take donations to support the FreeBSD Project. Matt booted a demo of the latest BETA1 release of PC-BSD 9.1 from his VirtualBox and enlightened all about the joys of PC-BSD.

We also had the pleasure of chatting with our fellow open-source neighbors. PhpBB, a popular open-source bulletin board, had a table right next to ours. PhpBB is a user-friendly, flat-forum that has a strong following of community members. Check out their main site: http://www.phpbb.com

Now what about a raffle for a free iPad? ;D

They had a raffle by the end of the show, and my name was one of the ones chosen! Denise and Matt joked at this rate I’ll win the lottery. I’m not holding my breath. Steve Atkinson from their support team presented me with an adorable customized phpBB teddy bear. They’re an awesome team who are passionate about their project, and I hope we will get to see them again next year.

That’s the schedule… for one day! O.o

OSCON is a huge conference. Attendees were constantly on the go. If they were not running to and from the many talks and keynotes, then they were amassed at the coffee shops or the lunch line to recharge themselves. For those who could not leave the Expo Hall or did not have time to go to all the talks, the talks were conveniently streamed onto video screens throughout the convention center and also posted online on the OSCON website.

On another note, I really liked Oregon’s conscious efforts to be eco-friendly. There were plenty of billboards with green messages, automated hand-dryers, numerous recycling bins, and even taxis with environmentally-safe emissions. What was really cool was our first-hand encounter with TaxiMagic, an online mobile app for booking taxis on the go. TaxiMagic, as I soon found out, is an iXsystems customer and runs on FreeBSD.  So people know their payment information is safe. ;D

This is actually a pic of TaxiMagic I took in LA, but same idea.

In addition, OSCON featured pictures of the “O’Reilly animals” in their conference materials. Fun trivia: the idea of using animals was inspired from quirky designs on 19th century wood engravings. Sadly, most of the animals on the O’Reilly book covers are now endangered. Within the main convention hall, there was an O’Reilly table designated to spread awareness of endangered animal species. Which brings me to my next topic:

FreeBSD is helping to save the gorillas!

Koko thanking Penny for introducing her to FreeBSD. Or that’s what we would like to think. ;D

It is true. Verified by our own Matt Olander and Larry Maloney, Koko, the famous gorilla who understands more than 1000 signs in ASL, uses FreeBSD. In fact, the Gorilla Foundation, founded and led by Dr. Penny Patterson, has a main site: http://www.koko.org, that runs on FreeBSD. If you’re not already a member of the Gorilla Foundation, we encourage you to sign up and support their noble endeavor.

Now, if that doesn’t convince people to try FreeBSD, I don’t know what will.

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