Meet the speakers: Rob Landley, Robinson Tryon, Everett Toews

[As TXLF 2014 draws near, we're running a series of short interviews with our speakers, so you can get to know them—and what they'll be talking about—that much better....]

This edition features our chat with Rob Landley, Robinson Tryon, and Everett Toews.

Meet Rob Landley

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background?

My twitter bio says "Rob does Aboriginal Linux and Toybox, co-founded Penguicon, wrote for Motley Fool, taught night courses at ACC, makes chan mail... the usual."

It doesn't mention I used to maintain BusyBox (I put out the 1.01 through 1.2.2 releases), or that I launched the first GPL enforcement lawsuits to clean up the "Hall of Shame" page I inherited from the previous maintainer (Erik Andersen). My talk is related to that part.

What we might expect from your talk? What will an attendee come away with at the end of the session?

If you're wondering "why me", in addition to starting the first GPL enforcement suits (busybox vs monsoon and such) around 2006, wrote a week of articles on IP law for The Motley Fool back in 2000, co-authored the OSI position paper on the SCO lawsuit in 2003. In 2001 I drove up to Boston to inteview Richard Stallman for a computer history project. I was on a panel about license enforcement with Eben Moglen (co-author of the GPL) in 2008, and hung out with him for the rest of the day in NYC, seeing the SFLC offices and so on, there was some sort of party that evening...

My "rise and fall of copyleft" comes from having been an enormous fan. Not "the GPL was never any good", but "I miss it terribly, here's why I was _forced_, kicking and screaming, to leave it behind".

You can catch Rob's talk, The Rise and Fall of Copyleft , at 1:30pm on Saturday!

Meet Robinson Tryon

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background?

My name is Robinson Tryon and I work on QA and Community Outreach for LibreOffice and The Document Foundation (the non-profit behind LibreOffice). I grew up in Oregon, went to college in New Hampshire, and now raise cows in Vermont. Okay, truth be told I don't actually raise cows, but there are a number right down the road from me. As you might have guessed, Vermont doesn't have as long of a growing season as Texas, but we get enough sun for me to grow tomatoes, beans, and more hops than I have time to turn into beer.

After I got my degree in CS I was employed as a programmer at the Dartmouth School of Medicine writing training programs for doctors and nurses, as well as working on counter-terrorism simulations and tools to train first responders on how to deal with hazmat scenarios. I subsequently worked as a programmer, sysadmin, and consultant on Metadata Games, a flexible suite of multimedia online games designed to help libraries and archives compile contextual tag information for various media including images and video. I regularly provide technical instruction to educators and professors on a variety of topics including the GNU/Linux system, LibreOffice, Git and git-related tools, the command line, and printers. Don't ask me why, but for some reason people seem to have a lot of problems figuring out how to use printers.

Over the last few years I've been spending more time on Free Software outreach and instruction, and less on the nitty-gritty of backend system administration and programming. It can be tough to give up that direct control, but I feel that outreach and education are some of the most important aspects of what we do as a community, and I'm looking forward to talking to all of you about some neat features and tricks in LibreOffice.

What we might expect from your talk? What will an attendee come away with at the end of the session?

I'll be talking about a number of really useful features in LibreOffice that most people have never used. Pretty much everyone in the Free Software community uses LibreOffice, but powerful features such as Hybrid PDFs or the Impress remote apps are only being used by a small fraction of that community. I'd like to see everyone walk out of my talk with a couple of new ideas or tips about how they can use LibreOffice more effectively and get their work done more efficiently.

Have you been to TXLF in the past? If so, what are you looking forward to? If you haven't, what are your impressions of the event?

This will be my first time at the Texas Linux Fest, and I'm eager to experience what Texas -- and Austin -- has to offer. They say that everything's bigger in Texas, and I expect that the Texas Linux Fest will be no exception! :-)

You can catch Robinson's talk, LibreOffice Tools and Tricks for Making Your Work Easier , at 3:50pm on Saturday!

Meet Everett Toews

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background?

I'm a Developer Advocate at Rackspace making OpenStack and the Rackspace Cloud easy to use for developers and operators. Sometimes developer, sometimes advocate, and sometimes operator. I'm a committer and PMC on Apache jclouds, and co-author of the OpenStack Operations Guide from O'Reilly. In the past I've developed web applications, taught workshops at conferences including SXSW and Gluecon, and presented at conferences including OSCON and the OpenStack Summits. I love spending time with my family. If it's calm outside, we launch rockets. If it's windy, we fly kites.

What we might expect from your talk? What will an attendee come away with at the end of the session?

They will learn what services make up OpenStack, how they interact with each other, how they interact with a client request, and how to trace the path of such a request. This will give you a concrete foundation for understanding OpenStack and being able to grow that knowledge by tinkering with its operations.

Have you been to TXLF in the past? If so, what are you looking forward to? If you haven't, what are your impressions of the event?

I have not. It sounds like a pretty great open source community led event.

You can catch Everett's talk, DevStack: Learn OpenStack by running OpenStack , at 10:15am on Saturday!