July 27, 2008, 07:37:48 PM Posted by HoTmetal on July 27, 2008, 07:37:48 PM in SMF at OSCON | 11 Comments
OSCON After thoughts:

Ever since joining the team, its been a dream of mine to have Simple Machines reach the point where it would be feasible to attend major community events. Coordinating such an event, was no easy task. With a global team, all from different walks of life, all with real life concerns and day jobs, it seemed near impossible to pull off. But with prudent planing and quick action from the team, we made it happen on such short notice.

When we originally announced our attendance, we were excited, and judging by the responses to that topic, our community was excited to. Among all that excitement, there seemed to be as many questions from the community as we had for ourselves. I've tried to answer as many as of them as I could think of on my flight home. If I missed any, feel free to ask, your questions will be removed & added here, your responses shall remain.

Why were we there? Who was the "surprise member"?

In short, many reasons, to promote growth, to spread awareness, to get involved in the future of open source, to get involved with the cutting edge new technology & lastly, to support former SMF team member (surprise member #1) David Recordon with a few of his new projects such as OpenID. Also the newly announced formation of the Open Web Foundation "is an independent non-profit dedicated to the development and protection of open, non-proprietary specifications for Web technologies," (quoted from their purpose statement  from

And our (surprise member #2) being Amacythe (Amy). Again getting a week off from our day jobs, in conjunction to planning this event, took some thought. There are many things that go into the back end of a tradeshow, Amy was instrumental in getting them done.

What did we do while we were there?

We demo'ed SMF 2.0, gave out swag, rubbed elbows with other projects, we even provided some support to fellow SMF users live.

What questions were we asked?

Contrary to popular belief, our license wasn't the focus of discussion. In fact, I was only asked about our custom license 4 times. The question I was asked most often is 'How do you guys make money?' 'Whats your business model?' and 'Why do you all work for free?'

Most folks couldn't wrap their head around our way of life, they didn't seem to fathom our giving without expecting anything in return. You see Open Source does not mean free as in price. In fact, Open Source is a Very profitable industry. So much so, mega giant Microsoft was in attendance @ OSCON.

What were some of our priceless moments?

I had a few. The look on people's face when I told them that our staff is 100% voluntary.

Another great moment for me was the Sourceforge awards when diamond sponsor Microsoft handed Open Office the award for Best Project & Best Project for the Enterprise.
I wish I could of snapped a quick pic of that, but it was so quick.

What new contacts did you meet? a few booths down was a great example of what I like to see... Women @ geek events. If you're a female coder, or would like to promote or help the cause, feel free to visit the site. Tell them rickC sent you & that I said hi.

Think geek- X-dev & SMF friend Thantos is a huge fan of this group... They handed out of kewl swag & had some kewl stuff for sale.... Among team favorites.. Annoy-a-tron , random screen mover, The shirt that says I Never Finish Anyth

Sourceforge- both Derek and I spent a good deal of time speaking with the peeps at Sourceforge about many aspects of SMF, our work and perhaps the public will see some interesting news come of it in mid 2009.

Mirrored server- we came we saw, we ate. Dinner was great, building relationships is awesome, watching your sys admin/network engineer, talk geek with your your affiliate until the restaurant closed, priceless. We had to pull Derek and Thomas of away just before midnight, before the SMF team all turned into pumpkins.

What did the team do after hours?

We did get to go out once, mainly we sat in the hotel's conference room & geeked out until 4am every night setting forth some goals to strive for this year. We also updated the mirrors & respective code to allow for faster downloads. We hoped it would of been for 2.0, but it will come it time. We re-evaluated a few projects outside of forum software that the team has been working on since MotM. My personal goal is to have 2 of them role out before the years end. Before you ask, I'll say that I've probably said too much as it is, but I've been holding it in for a year now. Some members know what I'm talking about, I ask that you don't post it on the boards.

What did SMF pay for this trip?

Its been our policy not to discuss finances (even amongst the team) but I will say no team member was paid, bribed, or hurt during the formation, or during the course of this trip. In all honesty we had to come out of pocket to make this work..

Sidenotes. I want to publicly apologize for not disseminating more general information during the MotM. I realize some wonder what became of it? I thought the team blogs said enough. In addition to my announcement of it.

Does SMF plan to attend other events and or tradeshows? If so, how about one near me?!:D

The short answer is yes! The long answer, I blew the better half of my personal leave time to make this event happen, however this doesn't mean we can't make this happen or that I have to attend. We are currently in the works to put the marketing machine in overdrive... Even so, this is your team SMF is your software, if you feel you can help in anyway, via informing myself of events we might not be aware of, sponsorship opportunities , strategic partnerships, I'm open to suggestions. Pm me here & or add me to you Linkedin account.

I'd like to thank the rest of the SMF for filling in the gaps & picking up the slack while we were gone, most of all ,I'd like to thank our community, you are what makes SMF, what it is. Keep up the good work, keep contributing, knowledge is a powerful thing and its to be shared.


Tony Reid on July 28, 2008, 11:08:02 AM said
Nice write up :)

Would love to have seen the Open Office award ;D

Hope to see SMF at  many more shows like this :)

SleePy on July 28, 2008, 01:21:17 PM said
The live support was interesting I would have to say.

While I used to be a support team member and know SMF very close to knowing the back of my hand. I found it interesting to see how the team members work to figure out a solution to a support issue.
One of them was helping fix some css issues a user was having on his board. It took some work and firebug (firefox only) came in handy here tracking down the issue. We where able to fix the issue after the user logged in as an admin and changed up the style.css to fix the issue.
I found it interesting to watch my fellow team members digest and figure it out. You don't get an understanding for how others will do something such as support until you have actually seen them in person do the work.

In the end, we accomplished more than we came for  ;) With most of that being internal stuff, it was a great work week and got some things fixed up and other issues solved.

Though I did get hurt :( ;) But that wasn't to painful.
Was an awesome trip and even though it was a ~6 hour drive for me to get to portland and a week off work, I enjoyed the driving and the whole event. Though now I need a car wash from all the dirt that magically appeared on my car. :-\

My surprise was I feel lots of these people where business type people, and this was just something they where amazed at how we can offer such a free product.
I also came across some cool software. If it wasn't for my custom cms I use on my site, I would basically drop it for use of this cms system we seen.

I got to meet a founding father of SMF. That was pure amazing. One of the people that started this project and helped it work its way towards today, that was just like speaking to a president. It feels weird and amazing. Not sure what to say at all really. Awesome that he is still going out there and driving the open source community forward.

Now that the event is over I just got to clean up things. I got most of my stuff unpacked. Already Wearing on of the free swag T-Shirts that where handed out by other companies (I was thinking of going shopping for more t-shirts in a couple weeks, but not any more :P ). Just got to sort through all of the free stuff handed out. I even got a firefox button and a Centos 5 cd :D (Now if I wasn't already using 4 different OSes on my poor laptop).
The only thing I got left to do after all that, is fix some of the demo script bugs in my source files (since I changed all of them live).

I guess we are not the only ones that got something out of OSCON. themselves are converting to svn from cvs.

[SiNaN] on July 28, 2008, 03:10:17 PM said
Nice reads from both of you. Thanks for bringing up the OSCON here. It would have been better with photos though.

metallica48423 on July 28, 2008, 03:24:13 PM said
its up to others if their pictures get put up, this one shouldn't be a problem to share, though.  Its not during the show, but during set-up

Fustrate on July 28, 2008, 04:56:45 PM said
Time for my obligatory "I'm sooooo going to the next one!" comment :D

I'm sooooo going to the next one!

Oh, and a suggestion for MotM if it becomes an annual thing - don't hold it on my birthday again! That's pretty much the only day of the year that my family demands my attendance all day :(

[SiNaN] on July 29, 2008, 07:19:20 AM said
Thanks, Justin. As the handsome man at the right couldn't be Amy, he must be Jeremy. :P

forsakenlad on July 30, 2008, 02:16:56 PM said

dschwab9 - rickC - metallica48423 - Sleepy

[SiNaN] on July 31, 2008, 08:47:24 AM said
I knew the rest, from MotM. Jeremy wasn't there.

SleePy on July 31, 2008, 01:22:40 PM said
Thats the face I get after getting up early, going to school, driving for 6 hours straight (and having a navigator keep yelling at me for my speed), and then being put to work :P
I was tired and all, I think the pure excitement of just being there, was keeping me from crashing.

metallica48423 on July 31, 2008, 06:54:29 PM said
So now he admits... he WAS speeding! :P

ccbtimewiz on July 31, 2008, 10:13:58 PM said
Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun. :)