Speakers (2015)

FOSSCON is pleased to announce our 2015 Keynote Speaker:

Christopher Wink.

How open source culture is changing the world. Using examples from five East Coast markets and beyond, we will discuss how the open source spirit is changing the way local tech communities are organizing today -- more dynamic coworking spaces, more transparent local governments, more collaborative company culture.

Christopher Wink is the cofounder and Editorial Director of Technical.ly, a network of local technology news sites and events, featuring its flagship Technically Philly and sister publications in Brooklyn, Washington D.C., Baltimore and Delaware. In that capacity, he is a lead organizer of events like Philly Tech Week, Baltimore Innovation Week and Delaware Innovation Week. He writes about entrepreneurship and media on his blog at christopherwink.com and tweets @christopherwink. The Temple University alumnus is a bicycle commuter and resident of the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia.

We are thrilled to be having Chris with us this year and we can’t wait to see each and every one of you attend and show your support on August 22nd!

Paul L. Snyder
"Functional Testing For Hard-To-Test Software Using Docker and Wiremock."

Talk Description: Unit tests are useful but myopic. Integration testing is essential but can be hard to integrate into your moment-to-moment development process. Linux containers (as made popular by Docker) make it easy to build miniature environments on your workstation that are suitable for repeatable testing of complex software environments. In this talk, we'll look at using Docker, Wiremock, and other open source tools to test important properties of your distributed systems.

Bio: Paul L. Snyder works for SunGard Consulting Services and holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Drexel University. He has interests in distributed systems and self-organizing software systems. He's a co-organizer for the Philadelphia Linux Users Group, the Philly Lambda functional programming meetup, and the Clojadelphia Clojure users group.

Chris Norton
"LVM And All its Capabilities in Linux."

Talk Description: This talk will be an overview of LVM and how it can be used in various way across your linux distribution.

Bio: Chris is an avid member of PLUG and has given several talks throughout the year. He has been using Linux off and on since 2003, but has fully embraced the FOSS ecosystem in his everyday life. Chris uses Arch Linux and a Chromebook on a daily and regular basis. He is currently employed at Coredial, LLC which hosts the PLUG north meetings.

LaMaia Cramer
"Introduction to Free and Open Source Software."

Talk Description: Where do you start? What do you want to do? What are the best replacements for common for-fee software? Let's talk about the common ones and the rare ones.

Bio: LaMaia has been an open-source enthusiast for many years. She relies heavily upon these tools for daily activities, and for occasional tasks. She is friendly and somewhat loud.

David Baker
"Introduction To Matrix - An Open Standard For Decentralised Distributed Communication"

Talk Description (Talk 1): We believe that real-time communication is fundamentally broken and fragmented on today's internet. XMPP and SIP tried to solve this, but haven't taken off as they might have done, leaving the internet dominated by closed proprietary islands of communication like WhatsApp, Facebook, Hangouts for human communication, and a myriad different vendor silos for IoT device communication.

Enter Matrix: a set of pragmatic RESTful HTTP JSON APIs as an open standard, intended to be implemented on a wide range of servers, services and clients, letting developers build arbitrary messaging and VoIP functionality on top of the Matrix ecosystem rather than adding yet another closed/proprietary solution.

In Matrix, devices and users run Matrix clients, which connect through to a Matrix "homeserver" which stores all their communication history and user account information - much as a mail client connects through to an IMAP/SMTP server. Just like email, you can either run your own Matrix homeserver, which means you own and control your own communications and history - or you can use one hosted by someone else (e.g. matrix.org) - there is no single point of control or mandatory service provider in Matrix. In fact, there is no single point of control over communication in Matrix at all - communication history is a first class citizen, with history replicated over all participating servers, avoiding single-points of failure or control as you get in XMPP MUCs.

So far, Matrix has been received positively by the WebRTC community by providing a much-needed pragmatic standardized HTTP JSON API for WebRTC call setup - winning the Audience Award at WebRTC Expo 2014 and Best Innovation Award at WebRTC Paris 2014. But in the end, we hope Matrix will crack the problem of a widely successful open federated platform for any kind of communication on the internet, from group chat and WebRTC to IoT and anywhere else you need a common data fabric to link together fragmented silos of communication!

"Defragment All The Things With Matrix."

Talk Description (Talk 2): Matrix’ goal is to build an open ecosystem for persistent pubsub messaging using standardized pragmatic HTTP/JSON APIs that people can use for a multitude of purposes. The aim of this tutorial is to introduce and explain Matrix, and show how it can be used as a universal data fabric for liberating user data being held hostage in proprietary silos - be they IoT deployments or islands of VoIP/IM communication.

We will start by introducing Matrix's architecture and look at the open source, Apache-licensed reference client and server implementations. We will use these to get a cluster of Matrix homeservers up and running, add them to the global federated Matrix network, and demonstrate Matrix's HTTP/JSON client-server API for participating in group chat and WebRTC calling with synchronised conversation history over Matrix - effectively demonstrating a 100% opensource equivalent to Google Hangouts.

As a next step, we will demonstrate how Matrix can be used for transferring and persisting arbitrary data between devices and services by gathering IoT-data from various sensor arrays into the network, and aggregating, processing and visualising this data via Matrix's Application Service API. Finally we will tie together both human and device communications and defragment ALL THE THINGS as our grand finale.

So far, Matrix has been received positively by the WebRTC community by providing a much-needed pragmatic standardized HTTP JSON API for WebRTC call setup - winning the Audience Award at WebRTC Expo 2014 and Best Innovation Award at WebRTC Paris 2014. At OSCON we hope to reveal Matrix's larger-scale vision as a generic persistent pubsub layer for the Internet.

Bio: Dave is a senior developer at Matrix.org, an early-stage not-for-profit open source project focused on solving the problem of fragmentation in current Chat, VoIP and IoT technologies. By defining a new lightweight pragmatic open standard for federation/interoperability and releasing open source reference implementations, Matrix hopes to create a new ecosystem that makes open real-time-communication as universal and interoperable as email. Dave works across the board on Matrix, with special focus on the React web client and SDK, WebRTC signalling, push notifications, identity servers, and much more.

Christopher Brown
"Making Predictions In Space And Time With Python And Spark."

Talk Description: This presentation will show how Spark and IPython notebook can be used to do analyses and machine learning on large geospatial datasets. With increasing access to real time geospatial data from devices like cell-phones, cars, and watches the ability and desire to use this data to generate predictive models is growing. The size and nature of this data creates some unique challenges when trying to build predictive models.

Using a dataset of all New York City taxi cab trips from 2013, this presentation will show how to leverage the distributed computing model of Spark to ingest spatiotemporal data, build a predictive model, and evaluate the performance of that model. The presentation will introduce how to integrate IPython notebook with spark to allow for easy, iterative development, and compelling visualizations when working with this data.

Bio: Chris Brown is a GIS software developer at Azavea where he works on geospatial applications including HunchLab - a predictive policing and crime analytics SaaS product. Prior to joining Azavea, Chris was working on a PhD in political science at the University of Pennsylvania where he developed tools to analyze the political polarization using text and speech.

Sam Halperin
"Computer Graphics As A Context For Learning And Teaching Computer Science."

Talk Description: This discussion covers research on recent computer graphics pedagogy, with a particular eye towards major themes and implementation level technologies. For example, one theme that recurs throughout the research is the need to strike a balance between engaging beginning students to continue studying computer science, and the need to provide a foundation rooted in rigorous data structures and algorithms. A second theme that recurs is the need to abstract away the complexity of systems intended for engineering (Android SDK, OpenGL), in order to use them for teaching purposes. Presented as well, are case studies from the literature that implement these and other themes.

Bio: Sam graduated from Brandeis' Rabb School of Continuing Studies with an MSE in Software Engineering in 2011 and is currently a PhD student in Computer Science at Nova Southeastern University. His past experience includes 8 years of full stack web and mobile applications development working on REST architecture applications, and nearly two years professionally mentoring new programmers.

John Riviello
"The Truth About Your Web App’s Performance."

Talk Description: The performance of your web app is obviously important. But how do you know your web app is performing well for all of your users? Out of the box tools provide us metrics, but most only provide an overall view. This case study of building the XFINITY X1 single-page web app will demonstrate what frontend performance data should you be gathering, how to gather it, and how to make sense of all that data.

Existing tools provide insight into the performance of our web applications, but there is not a single tool that gives you the full picture. You can fill these gaps by gathering performance data of your actual users. In this talk, we'll walk through the parts of the W3C Navigation Timing, High Resolution Time & User Timing recommendations that you can easily take advantage of right now to collect important metrics (with the help of Open Source software). We'll determine the "types" of users you need to focus on to understand YOUR web app, as well as what other factors could impact those individual users' experience. And we'll make sure "Average Response Time" is never the primary focus of your metrics dashboard.

Bio: John Riviello is a Distinguished Engineer and Lead Frontend Developer at Comcast where he works on the XFINITY customer websites and web apps. In his free time, he prefers surfing waves over surfing the internet.

Charles Butler
"Modeling Orchestration Service With JuJu."

Talk Description: Orchestration is a hot topic today. Juju has been tackling the issue of modeling orchestration of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) for the past four years. In this talk we'll cover how Juju handles orchestration, how Juju can fit in to your existing stack, and demonstrate how Juju can orchestrate common deployments.

Bio: Charles Butler Is a seasoned devops veteran. Currently employed by Canonical. Charles works on the Juju data center orchestration platform as a charmer. His prior work includes building the #5 Pittsburgh PA Digital Marketing Agency: Level Interactive, and performing community Q/A with many Open Source projects.

Dave Forgac
"Writing Better Command Line Applications With Python."

Talk Description: Often the first step in automating a repetitive task is to write a command line script. Python is a great language for this because of the number of modules and packages available -- but all of the options can be overwhelming or seem like overkill. This talk will cover many of the useful Python tools available for writing command line applications and when and why you might want to use each. In this talk you will learn:
  • What makes a good command line application?
  • Options in the standard library
  • Command line parsers
  • Interface tools
  • How to decide
  • Deploying for portability
You should come away from this talk knowing how to create your own command line applications with Python and how to choose which tools to use.

Bio: Dave Forgac has been a FOSS enthusiast ever since installing Linux for the first time in the late '90s and has experience working up and down the web software stack. He currently works as a Senior Software Engineer at American Greetings in Cleveland, OH, focusing on RESTful Web APIs and Python application deployment. He has previously worked as a Linux systems administrator, automating as much as possible using FOSS tools. He lived in Wilmington, DE for 9 years and likes traveling back to the Philadelphia area to visit when he can.

Amanda Folsen
"Give Me A REST."

Talk Description: More devices than ever are connected to the Internet these days, and the need and consumption of APIs is growing fast. We'll talk about what an API is (and what it's not), why you might need one, how you might use one, and how to make one that other people will enjoy using.

Bio: From humble beginnings as a PHP4 web developer in grade school, Amanda now works as an Associate Product Manager^W^W^WDeveloper Evangelist at PagerDuty where she gets to share her passion for technology with others. When she's not speaking, writing, or shooing cats off her keyboard, you'll find her consuming APIs and IPAs.

Walter Mankowski, Phd
"What’s New In Perl 5."

Talk Description: Perl 6 has been in development for 15 years, and there's a good chance it might finally be released before the end of the year. But Perl 5 remains in active development. It's been on a yearly release schedule for the past 5 years, and the new versions are full of new great new features like defined-or, say, state variables, versioned modules, Y2038 compliance, lexical subroutines, subroutine signatures, Unicode 7.0 support, and tons of new regular expression features. If you haven't used Perl since the (first) dotcom bust, come see what you've been missing!

Bio: Walt recently finished his PhD in Computer Science at Drexel University. His dissertation was on canonical behavior patterns, which he'll be glad to explain to you if you ask nicely. Prior to grad school, he worked on high-throughput online systems at QVC and the financial industry. He also wrote code to do statistical analysis of DNA microarray data at the Wistar Institute. Walt is currently back at Drexel working as a postdoc, where he's doing computational image sequence analysis of stem cell movies. In his spare time he runs the Philadelphia Perl Mongers and helps organize the Philadelphia Linux Users Group.

Clinton Wolfe
Your Goat Antifragiled My Snowflake!: Demystifying DevOps Jargon

Talk Description: Are you a cow, a pet, a canary, or a unicorn? Do you prefer blue/green, or red/green/refactor? Who the heck is Brent? Welcome to DevOps, where we are all about breaking down walls. But, we've created a private dialect, full of familiar words with unfamiliar meanings, and in-jokes upon in-jokes. Many newcomers wish there was a glossary for the movement. Time to be inclusive!

In this fun session, we'll go over some of the more unintuitive terms (being a goat is a good thing!) and the backstories behind them. We'll have an extended audience participation segment in which you can ask about words you've heard.

Bio: DevOps Practice Lead, OmniTI Clinton Wolfe leads the DevOps Practice at OmniTI, which means he voluntarily chooses to go into heavily siloed, dysfunctional organizations and try to get them to talk to each other with as few stabbings as possible. He's especially interested in testable infrastructure, and the processes needed to support quality throughout the application lifecycle. He is also a Daddy.

Russell Pavlicek
Next Generation Cloud: Unleashing the Power of the Unikernel

Talk Description: Much excitement has surrounded the rise of Docker and similar Linux Container technologies. The promise of small, portable software deployment packages has stimulated the minds of many in our industry. However, few people have yet recognized the arrival of an even more promising technology: the birth of the unikernel. Like container-based solutions, unikernels fulfill the promise of easy deployment. But unikernels deliver much more, including an extremely tiny footprint and a major improvement in security. As a result, the next generation cloud can have thousands of small VMs per host, saving considerable cost in hardware, electricity, and cooling, while reducing the attack surface of malicious hackers. Xen Project has been at the forefront of unikernel development with its incubator project Mirage OS, but it also supports a number of other unikernels, including OSv, HaLVM, ClickOS, and LING (aka “Erlang on Xen”).

Bio: Currently the Xen Project Evangelist for Citrix, Russell has spent two decades evangelizing Open Source. Since his introduction to Linux in 1995, he has relentlessly promoted the concept of Open Source to anyone who would listen. He has over 150 pieces published, including columns for Infoworld and Processor magazines and one book. He has spoken at over 75 Open Source conferences, including multiple times at OSCON. A former panelist on The Linux Show weekly webcast, he also has many years of experience employing Open Source software in solutions for clients.

Christina Simmons
“The History of Fosscon and How You Can Be Involved”

Talk Description: Join us as we reminisce on the last six years. We’ll talk about our success and failures, and how we have continued to learn, grow, and keep pushing forward. We’ll also discuss all the avenues of volunteering for the event and how you can be a part of this ever-growing project in a myriad of different ways.

Bio: Christina co-founded FOSSCON with her husband, Jonathan Simpson, in 2010. Her involvement with the Open Source community began shortly before that. She currently organizes and is responsible for all administrative aspects of the event, including but not limited to: staff management, volunteer management, sponsorship outreach and communication, financial upkeep, marketing, and overall day-of on-site management of the event. Her five years experience in the financial industry has enabled her to make FOSSCON a successful event for the attendees, speakers, and sponsors. Within the last year, she recently became a freenode network staff member, and has become involved with local women’s advocacy in the technical field.

NTR - Steven Feldman / Mathew Callo / Nick Bisaccia
NTR Linux InstallFest

Talk Description: This hands-on workshop will let attendants of Fosscon use their technical ability to impact Philadelphia's local community.There are many individuals NTR supports still operating Windows XP computers and they are willing to learn how to navigate and learn the perks of operating a Linux machine. After installing the Linux system for NTR's guests, volunteers will help prepare them in utilizing their new system and demonstrate effective Linux navigation.

Other NTR guests may just need onsite technical support. Attendees of the workshop will help resolve the communities technical issues and show them how to maintain their computers for a long-lasting life. Through installs of Linux and supporting the community in their computer frustrations, attendants will understand how to use their advanced technical ability in making a large community impact. Following the workshop we will have a short discussion in the problems guests shared. Together, we will brainstorm how IT professionals and computer enthusiasts can make tech maintenance more accessible and affordable. During the event NTR will be selling older laptop computers as-is for $20. Much of the equipment has been stockpiled in NTR's warehouse and is of no longer use to our mission, however, the computers can comfortably run Linux and many web applications.

Bio: NTR’s mission is to ensure that Philadelphia’s low-wealth communities have access to and the capacity to productively use information and communications technology. The “digital divide” diminishes economic, academic, civic and social opportunities at the individual, community, and metropolitan levels. NTR envisions a Philadelphia where everyone, regardless of income, has access to these opportunities and choices. Steven Feldman is executive director at NTR Matthew Callo is NTR’s lead technician, he has a degree in Computer Science from Drexel University.

Corey Quinn
“Terrible Ideas in GIT”

Talk Description: Adapted from his class "The Screaming Horrors of Git," Corey takes us on a magical tour through the (mis)use of Git to do things its creators never intended. In this humorously delivered exploration of one of the open source community's more ubiquitous tools, Corey demonstrates that a finely crafted wrench makes a barely acceptable hammer if you hold it wrong.

Bio: Corey has a long and storied history as a consultant -- long, in that every year he did it felt like three years, and storied, in that he's got a few. Prior to his current role as Director of DevOps at Originate, he spent the past two years at Taos, where he served as a systems architect, ad-hoc recruiter, advocate for driving transformational change throughout organizations, and (due to a misunderstanding around what a "standup meeting" really was) an improvisational comic. One of the early developers behind Saltstack, Corey also has a rich history of contributing to various open source projects. Corey's hobbies include motorcycles, wearing suits, and drinking whiskey-- it's a shame that they all don't work well together. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two rodents of unusual size masquerading as dogs.

Richard Friedman
Scaling Open Source Load Testing With JMeter, Gatling, Jenkins And RedLine13

Talk Description: Over ten years ago I was asked to load test java middleware APIs with no budget. I took the current state of Grinder packaged it up with load tests and scripts then went to over 40 developer work stations with usb stick in hand. This became my DIY load testing farm. Fast forward to today where the folks at RunSignup.com had to load test 50,000 users stampeding their servers over a few minutes. They needed to test this over and over again. In this session we will cover an overview of current state of open source load testing tools, how Jenkins made this a repeatable process, how we built a service to use the cloud to quickly create test farms, and examples of test plan results.

Bio: Richard Friedman is currently CTO of MeetMe and founder at Redline13. Previously he had lead product management for JBoss Operations Network and RedHat Network. He enjoys tackling large scale problems with really smart people.

Jason Plum (WarheadsSE)
The Arch Way: Simplicity is King

Talk Description: For those who do not know Arch Linux, or where it fits into the ecosystem and their own use cases, this presentation and discussion will aim to explain the beauty of the distribution's philosophy and implementation of its primary directive: K.I.S.S. This will be valuable to Linux users at all levels of experience.

Bio: Jason Plum is currently a distribution manager for Devon IT in King of Prussia, PA. He has also been a Core Developer for Arch Linux ARM since 2010. Jason is a regular attendee of the Philadelphia Linux Users Group and other regional LUGs, and has made his rounds in speaking at different meetings over the years covering a variety of topics from Arch Linux ARM, Raspberry Pi, and Getting Involved with FOSS. With over 12 years experience in the IT field, his experience ranges from wiring to programming and systems engineering.

He worked “in the trenches” to acquire his experience and earn the respect of his peers by working diligently with them to broaden the knowledge of people around him. He maintains his role as Core Developer for the community-based Arch Linux ARM, while the distribution side of things has helped him keep in touch with the open source community and developing technologies.

Russell Pavlicek
Introduction to the Advanced Security Features of the Xen Project Hypervisor

Talk Description: The Xen Project team produces a mature, enterprise-grade virtualization technology featuring many advanced and unique security features. For this reason, it's the hypervisor of choice for multiple security-sensitive government agencies. However, while much of the security of Xen Project software is inherent in its design, many of the advanced security features, such as stub domains, driver domains, and Xen Security Modules (XSM), are not enabled by default. This session will describe many of the advanced security features of the software which can be used in either a traditional virtualization environment or a cloud.

Bio: Russell Pavlicek has been a speaker at over 50 open source conferences. A Linux user since 1995, he was an Open Source columnist for Infoworld and Processor magazines, as well as a former panelist on The Linux Show weekly webcast. He has over 20 years experience delivering software services. He currently employed by Citrix Systems as an evangelist for the Xen Project.