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Ohio LinuxFest 2023 Conference Speakers

We are excited about our lineup of speakers for the 2023 OLF Conference! Read on to learn more about what they have to say.


Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier

Joe Brockmeier is Head of Community at Percona. Brockmeier has been involved in open source for more than 20 years, is a member of the Apache Software Foundation, and has previously worked at Red Hat, Citrix, and SUSE. He also has an long history in the tech press and publishing, having been editor-in-chief of Linux Magazine, editorial director of Linux.com, and a contributor to LWN.net, ZDNet, UnixReview.com, and many others.

Keynote – Open Source Can’t Win

It’s popular to say that open source has won – but the truth is that open source can never win. Not permanently, at least.

Open source is mainstream, and a popular choice with developers, users, admins, companies, and government. But as open source has grown in popularity, complacency has crept in. Many people have forgotten, or never knew, the “why” of open source and open computing.

Open source communities can’t stand on past success, stand down from educating newcomers, or evolving to meet new challenges. And we certainly can’t give an inch on what it means to be open source and not merely source available.


Catherine Devlin

A freak accident in 1999 transformed Catherine from a mild-mannered chemical engineering grad student into a database administrator. Over the next few years, she added PostgreSQL, Python and Linux to her portfolio and has spent a career in data-centered programming, mostly open source. She’s creator of ipython-sql, president of the Dayton Dynamic Languages group, and founding chair of PyOhio. She has given keynotes at PyOhio, PyCon US, OLF, and most recently PyCon Colombia. She lives with her wife, cats, and horses, in the woods near Dayton where she works remotely for Corning. She probably has sticks in her hair.

Keynote – Database Superpowers

You know PostgreSQL and SQLite as the mild-mannered FOSS databases that unobtrusively store data for applications. But what happens when your database takes off its glasses and ducks into a phone booth?

You don’t necessarily have to write a program to do great things with your data. The database itself, and closely associated products, can do great work itself in ways you probably didn’t expect.

There will be several short demos, including FerretDB (document database), Apache AGE (graph database), Datasette, and Datasette Lite.


Jon “maddog” Hall

Jon “maddog” Hall is the Chairman of the Board of the Linux Professional Institute. Since 1969, he has been a programmer, systems designer, systems administrator, product manager, technical marketing manager, author and educator, and is currently working as an independent consultant. Mr. Hall has concentrated on Unix systems since 1980 and Linux systems since 1994, when he first met Linus Torvalds and correctly recognized the commercial importance of Linux and Free and Open Source Software. He has been a tremendous friend to the OLF Conference, offering his support and appearing on our stage starting in 2004. Mr. Hall has traveled the world speaking on the benefits of Open Source Software having received his BS in Commerce and Engineering from Drexel University, and his MSCS from RPI in Troy, New York.

Keynote – Freeloaders, Slackers and Pirates: Arrrrggghhhh

The relatively recent decision by IBM and Red Hat to change the business policies with the distribution of their software has generated a lot of discussion about clones like CentOS, Rocky Linux, AlmaLinux and “Nonstop Oracle Linux” and their contributions to the FOSS community. As someone who has worked in the computer community for over fifty years, and one of the people who first predicted Linux as an operating system for businesses (and not just academics or hobbyists) the speaker will discuss the various elements of the computer industry and what lies behind the changes Red Hat’s business decisions. Added to this is a discussion of how the listener can free themselves from being a “freeloader,” which has little or nothing to do with paying for a distribution. All will be discussed with real life examples, models, maddog’s humor and a considerable amount of beer consumed at the podium.



Adam Stephens

Adam has a background in DevOps, software development, and systems administration. He has been using Linux for over twenty years and worked with multiple configuration management systems to deploy and maintain thousands of Linux servers. While currently he is sharing his experience in the classroom, he is a passionate technologist who is a lifelong learner.

NixOS from Basics to Devops

This presentation covers using Nix for multi-system declarative NixOS Linux system administration. Nix, a language and reproducible package manager, has a wide range of uses from creating repeatable development environments to managing the NixOS Linux distribution. In this talk you will receive a brief overview of the Nix language and ecosystem; learn how to use Nix to install packages and configure services on NixOS; see how one can use the Nix language to abstract common configurations for multiple NixOS systems; and finally learn how NixOS can be remotely configured using only the included tooling. Some of the concepts presented in this talk are applicable to the use of Nix for non-NixOS uses. The majority of this talk will be live demonstrations.


Bob Murphy

I’m Bob Murphy, long time desktop Linux user, current Linux sysadmin, EFF supporter, Fediverse denizen, and long time time OLF attendee and contributor.

An Introduction to Mastodon and the Fediverse

Mastodon is a fully open source social media platform, with no advertising, monetizing, or venture capital.

It is a part of the Fediverse, a social network that is truly a network, by incorporating ideas and protocols that allow users and information to freely spread throughout a wide diaspora of servers and services. Explore how you might wish to join into the rich, new world that has more of a resemblance of the internet as it was envisioned to be.

The Fediverse is a collection of communities that is a bit of a throwback to a smaller, more personal time on the internet. There are services for short messaging, audio and video sharing, and event organizing, among other things.

With the centralized silos in turmoil, things change fast here, so there may be some talk of Threads and/or other new developments in the Fediverse.


Brad Krumme

A Red Hat Certified Architect, Brad has over 20 years of IT experience as a systems administrator and IT manager. Now a Solution Architect at Red Hat, Brad specializes in helping IT organizations automate their operations and scale their automation practices to improve efficiency, reduce cost, and increase capabilities.

Exploiting the IT Value Stream: Iterative Automation Strategy

As adoption of hybrid cloud technologies accelerates, automation has become a necessary capability IT organizations must adopt in order to deliver value to the businesses they enable.

Teams often focus on the tools and techniques they use in order to create, manage, and operate automation, but struggle to identify new opportunities for automation and prioritize their work. IT leaders often struggle with efforts to scale automation beyond team boundaries and prove the success of automation efforts.

This session will explore the challenges IT teams face when they are asked to automate everything, and the struggles IT leaders face when they need to provide the most value in the shortest amount of time.

For Teams: Where do they start? How do they prioritize a growing list of requirements?


For Leaders: How do they measure and show their success with automation? How do they scale beyond team boundaries?

The session will highlight a method of planning automation and measuring efficiency using an iterative approach which is designed to be employed both within teams and across team boundaries. The method shifts focus away from tools and techniques and toward continuous evaluation of the IT value chain as a means to identify inefficiencies, discover automation opportunities, enable prioritization, scale from automation to orchestration, and measure success.


Cameron Hughes and Tracy Hughes

Cameron Hughes is a software epistemologist for Ctest Laboratories, where he performs A.I.M. (Alternative Intelligence for Machines) & A.I.R. (Alternative Intelligence for Robots) applied research. Cameron is also Chief Knowledge Engineer for Advanced Software Construction (A.S.C.) INC., where he leads the TAMI-2 (Transcript Analysis, Mining & Interpretation) Project. Tracey Hughes is a software and visualization engineer for Ctest Laboratories and A.S.C. They are members of the advisory board for the N.R.E.F. (National Robotics Education Foundation) and volunteer at the Oak Hill Robotics Makerspace, where they conduct citizen science tech talks on sensor and robotics programming. Cameron and Tracey Hughes are co-authors of nine books covering C++ and software development published by John Wiley and Sons, Addison Wesley, and others. Two books were translated into several languages. They have written two books on robotics, “Robot Programming: A Guide to Controlling Autonomous Robots,” published by Que Publishing in 2016, and “Build Your Own Teams of Robots,” published by McGraw-Hill/T.A.B. Electronics in 2013. They have co-authored many peer-reviewed papers and articles on software development and A.I.

Their current project is the “C.A.V.E. DRAWINGS (Cosmology of Artificial Intelligence Visualized Epistemically) Project, a historical survey project that traces the origins, evolution, development, and trajectory of the effort to create thinking machines. By tracing its history, this project will examine and record the major schools of thought and their topics, historical influences, institutions, people, techniques, projects, and inventions. The artifacts of the project will include websites, timeline posters, videos, talks, a taxonomy, and a software ontology. This project will be used to increase A.I. literacy in the general public, specifically targeting underrepresented and economically challenged communities.

Arduino Meets Raspberry Pi Using O.L.D. Programming Techniques

This talk is about connecting an Arduino and Raspberry Pi in the Raspberry Pi OS (Raspbian) Environment to make knowledge-based embedded systems for sensor agents for home (inside or outside) environmental monitoring. It shows the advantages of adding Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi OS with a knowledge base to an Arduino-based sensor application. The talk demonstrates how to make the hardware and wiring connections and set up the software communication protocols and architecture between the Raspberry Pi and Arduino. The talk shows how a simple knowledge base can improve the utility of an embedded sensor application. It introduces the “New” O.L.D. (Object-Oriented Programming, Logic Programming, Descriptive Logic) Programming Techniques that we present during our community-based citizen science series on developing knowledge-based embedded systems.


Ken Elliott

Computer science and the history of computing have been my lifelong passions, driving me to explore this fascinating field extensively. My formal education in CS and communications at Otterbein University, from which I graduated in 2021, has provided me with a solid academic foundation to delve deeper into this ever-evolving realm.

One of the highlights of my journey was delivering my first OLF (Open Source Software Conference) talk back in 2018, where I had the privilege to share the captivating history of Linux with an enthusiastic audience. The experience of imparting knowledge and sharing my passion with others was truly fulfilling, igniting a desire to continue contributing to the tech community.

Programming is not just a skill for me; it’s a way of expressing creativity and problem-solving. I revel in the art of crafting code and embracing the challenges that come with it. But more than that, I find immense joy in guiding and inspiring others in their own computer science pursuits.

OLF has a special place in my heart, as it provides an exceptional platform for talented individuals and speakers to showcase their skills and knowledge. The diverse array of topics and the sense of camaraderie among attendees create an atmosphere that is both invigorating and intellectually stimulating.

As I continue on my journey in the world of computer science, my mission is to continue expanding my knowledge, honing my programming skills, and fostering a community where everyone can explore and benefit from the wonders of technology. I firmly believe that by sharing our knowledge and passion, we can collectively propel the field of computing forward and make a positive impact on the world.

History of Computing

This presentation dives into the remarkable advancements and significant contributions that have shaped the world of computing as we know it today.

We will begin by talking about the Antikythera mechanism (the world’s oldest analog computer), and then move onto Charles Babbage (father of computing) and Ada Lovelace (first programmer). Following that we will remark on more modern day contributors like Alan Turing (father of modern computer science), John Von Neumann, and Grace Hopper. We will then examine Unix and time share machines, and the subsequent personal computers. We will explore Windows and Linux and we will end by analyzing smartphones and wearables as well as A.I.

We shall witness how computing has evolved from its ancient origins to the modern digital landscape, shaping the world in unprecedented ways. We will celebrate the ingenuity, perseverance, and brilliance of the minds that have fueled the remarkable history of computing.


Kyle JenkinsKyle Jenkins

Kyle Jenkins is driven to help you ease the pain of work, whether it’s technology bleeding resources or trouble working with a team of people. As a full stack developer, public speaker, and principal consultant with Improving, a global software development consulting and training company, he integrates into teams to provide quality software solutions and into the IT and Agile community to improve processes and teamwork. On the side, he is an avid video gamer, and loves correlating the challenges and learnings from video games to the world of work.

Docker Unleashed: Enhancing Local Environments with Ease

A high-quality local environment is critical for enabling developers for efficient feature delivery. Docker, when utilized correctly, can simplify the maintenance of the local environment and remove the “it works on my machine” symptom. Join me on an insightful journey as I share years of successes and hard-earned lessons from harnessing Docker for consistent, hassle-free environments. We will review what Docker is and when to use it, the architecture behind an efficient local environment to enable smooth pipelines and production deployment and will unveil valuable tips and real-world examples to optimize Docker usage and boost your development productivity.


Logan Arnett and Matt Arnett

Logan Arnett is an IT student at University of Cincinnati, Full Stack Developer intern at UC Information Technology Solution Center, and game design instructor using the Unity game engine.

Matt Arnett is an IT ecommerce Architect, Cintas Corporation, with 30 years experience in software engineering & IT. He was president of Milford Robotics for 8 years (Milford High School & Jr High, Milford, OH) and is a frequent speaker on the topic of “The future of jobs: drastic changes ahead fueled by robotics, automation & artificial intelligence” and at ScoutingU (Dan Beard Council) on topics of using slack.com & trello.com for scout leaders.

Logan and Matt have been using Home Assistant for a year. Facing a complete kitchen remodel for 6 months, we wanted a security system installed because of all the contractors coming and going. We checked into the price of a professionally installed system and it was $5,000 for three cameras. So we decided to DIY our own system and save thousands of dollars. We are beginners. If that’s where you are, you can do this too!.

Home Automation and Security with Home Assistant

Home automation and security has revolutionized the way we live and interact with our homes. Home Assistant, a free and open-source platform, offers a solution for both beginners and enthusiasts to transform their living spaces into smart, secure, and efficient environments. This presentation dives into the process of setting up, configuring, and effectively utilizing Home Assistant, focusing on creating a personalized security system using cameras and sensors alongside automations utilizing IOT devices.

  1. What is Home Assistant?
  2. Why use Home Assistant?
  3. Prerequisite knowledge (We are beginners. You can do this too!)
  4. Installation and configuration
  5. External access on your phone
  6. Live demo of security camera person detection & notification
  7. Use cases for home automation
  8. Tips and issues we encountered

Max Blaze

Max is a Senior Staff Operations Engineer at Duolingo and is currently optimizing infrastructure for cost, stability, and compliance through standardization and automation. Before diving into the chaotic world of cloud computing, he managed application operations for multiple physical data centers in the healthcare sector. Max holds an MS and Certificate of Advanced Study in Telecommunications from the University of Pittsburgh, where he focused on network security and critical infrastructure.

When Clouds Stop Raining Discounts: Surviving the Drought

At the end of 2022, we seemed to be all set in terms of AWS cost optimization—we had just finished migrating our largest, most costly services to AWS Graviton (ARM) instances at an additional 20% discount over our existing Intel hosts while continuing to run the majority of our workloads on AWS Spot instances. As a result, our projected savings forecasts for the year were looking fantastic and the first two months of 2023 confirmed that we were on the right track. That is until March, when drastic changes in the AWS Spot market overturned all of our underlying assumptions. Suddenly, our “cheaper” Graviton instances were costing more than our Intel-based systems and most of our discounts completely disappeared by the end of April. The unthinkable had happened and we had no idea if it was temporary or the new normal.

In response, we regrouped, reset our expectations, and developed new technical and financial strategies. This talk will explore the most likely underlying causes of the AWS Spot market instability, the tools and techniques we used to see the full view of its effects on discounts, and the major actions that we took to keep our infrastructure costs under control when faced with increasing uncertainty.


Michael T. DeWitt

Based in Chillicothe, Ohio, I’m a multi-disciplined technical specialist with expertise in Linux, Microsoft Servers, and Cisco Networking. Currently a Senior System Engineer at Path Robotics, I have a rich professional history spanning roles such as Field Services Engineer at Adena Health System, Information Technology Consultant at Digital Solutions of Chillicothe, Systems Administrator at AACANet, Inc., and several other technical roles. My greatest feat was when I developed and maintained Digital Solutions of Chillicothe. I stopped taking new clients since joining Path Robotics, but my website is still active.

Self-Hosting: The Pathway to Data Sovereignty and Empowerment

In an era where data is the new oil, our reliance on big tech companies like Microsoft and Google for housing our data has raised significant concerns about privacy, security, and data sovereignty. This presentation aims to shed light on the empowering alternative of self-hosting applications and services, a practice that allows individuals and organizations to regain control over their data.

We will begin by demystifying the concept of self-hosting, explaining its benefits and challenges, and how it contributes to data sovereignty. We will then delve into the various open-source technologies that make self-hosting possible, providing a practical guide for those interested in making the transition.


Scott McCarty

At Red Hat, Scott McCarty is Senior Principal Product Manager for RHEL Server, arguably the largest open source software business in the world. Focus areas include cloud, containers, workload expansion, and automation. Working closely with customers, partners, engineering teams, sales, marketing, other product teams, and even in the community, he combines personal experience with customer and partner feedback to enhance and tailor strategic capabilities in Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

McCarty is a social media start-up veteran, an e-commerce old timer, and a weathered government research technologist, with experience across a variety of organizations, from seven person startups to 25,000 employee technology companies. This has culminated in a unique perspective on open source software development, delivery, and maintenance.

The State of Enterprise Linux 2023

Are you a professional Linux Systems Administrator, Architect, or Site Reliability Engineer? Do you use Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) or a derivative in the course of your work? Do you find it difficult to keep up with all of the changes that have been going on with RHEL in the last few years? Are you trying to understand the difference between RHEL, RHEL CoreOS, Red Hat Universal Base Image, CentOS, Fedora, CentOS Stream, AlmaLinux, Rocky, Amazon Linux, Oracle Linux, or a host of other derivatives? Are you trying to digest Red Hat’s recent code changes and how it affects downstream rebuilds?

Admittedly, it’s kind of complex.

Don’t feel bad. The upstream and downstream relationships that make up the RHEL supply chain contribute to what is arguably the largest and most sophisticated open source supply chain in the world. This large, sophisticated supply chain, and all of the Independent Software Developers (ISVs) involved, give RHEL a lot of gravity, probably more than any other open source product.

For years, I think many of us in the open source world assumed that we knew everything there was to know about open source, but the truth is, we’re all still learning. In the last couple of years, there have been some big changes in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) supply chain, often referred to as Enterprise Linux or EL for short. This talk will help people understand these changes year over year, and what the future might hold.


Steven PritchardSteven Pritchard

Steven Pritchard has been fascinated by the container and virtualization spaces for as long as they’ve been a thing on Linux. In his day job, he is the Vice President, Infrastructure and Security at Sicura, where he is in charge of cloud and Kubernetes. For fun, he works with Kubernetes and various open-source virtualization solutions.

A Brief History of Containers and Virtualization

Containers and Virtualization are different technologies with somewhat overlapping goals, primarily resource control and application isolation. In this presentation, we’ll examine the history of containers and virtualization broadly, and we’ll focus on some of the specific technologies underpinning the state of the art in both fields on Linux.


Thomas Hancock

I went to Muskingum University where I recieved a double major in Business Marketing and Digital Media Design. Since I was 12, however, I’ve been using Linux. I distro hopped multiple times over the years starting with “just works” distros like Ubuntu and diving into complex yet less resource heavy systems like Artix and Void. I’ve also been able to teach myself how to compile programs leading to me being able to test out other utilities like Csprite.

The Outstanding Advantages of Being a Linux-Based Artist

I have been using Linux for some time in various ways. Diving into my experience, I’ll highlight the advantages I found using Linux over proprietary options (e.g. support for legacy printer drivers) for artistic pursuits. We’ll then cover the programs I use on a daily basis – one of these is Krita, which I will demo. The presentation will end with a discussion of system specs, showing how Linux can bring powerful tools to artists from any income demographic.


Warren Myers

Warren Myers has worked as a Splunk Consultant for over 5 years after spending a decade in datacenter management and automation. Having had the good fortune to work around the world, he enjoys bringing his exposure and experience to bear on problems large and small with each customer – living out the mantra, “profit from my experience.” He most loves spending time at home with his wife Christina and 4 young children. In his copious free time, he volunteers as a youth archery coach, gardens, and raises small animals.

Syslog for Fun (and Profit?)

Let’s face it, everyone’s favorite activity is creating, collecting, curating, and controlling device, OS, authentication, and application logs. Right?

Logging, and what you can do with said logging, is possibly the most vital task any team needs to think about – who will be looking at this data? What data should be looked at? What compliance regulations do I have to abide by? How do I ensure we have what we need for as long as we need to keep it? What insights can I derive from the data I have, and what other data could I benefit from collecting?

We will be doing a live demo of installing and initial configuration of syslog-ng in a modular, extensible manner.


Zak KohlerPhoto of Zak Kohler

Zak Kohler is a Chemical Engineer by training but a hacker at heart. He started programming in 3rd grade and has never let up. His first foray in open source was in early high school, and he discovered Linux and Free Software at university. Electronics is his second love and he fuses the two by playing with early computer hardware and modern microcontrollers. When Zak isn’t messing with computers he can be found growing plants, cooking, and hiking.

Simulated AI Hardware: a Toy Matrix Multiply

Explore the line between hardware and software with a toy matrix-multiply accelerator. Defined in Verilog, the accelerator is translated to C++ using Verilator for simulation. The system runs on a simulated RISC-V CPU within Renode. The driver is implemented within my meant-for-learning homebrew operating system to remove the complexity that comes along with production operating systems like Linux or Zephyr.From this talk you’ll learn the importance of matrix multiplication in AI, the benefits of special purpose hardware, and how software drives hardware at the lowest level.

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