The Southern California Linux Expo is an annual Linux/Open Source/Free Software conference held in Los Angeles, California.

The SCaLE conference has taken place since 2002 in Los Angeles, California.

The event has which had been hosted previously in USC, The Los Angeles Convention Center, Radisson Hotel, Westin and Hilton all at the Los Angeles Airport, and more recently at the Pasadena Convention Center.

I began attending in 2016 when they first came to the Pasadena Convention Center.

I was working blocks from the convention center, and it was convenient for me to head over after work.

The first time I attended I was very excited to be with fellow Linux Users since I felt that I was the only Linux user from all my friends, family and co-workers at the time.

In my experience, the event is usually in March though this may not always be the case.


The talks range from beginner to expert topics and cover everything from using Linux as your day-to-day desktop, Developer, Security, and DevOps related discussions.

There were a few talks I didn’t get to make that I wish I could have, but there is so much going on that my discussions of interest are bound to conflict.

The talks I did attend and found most interesting were:

  • Death Star Postmortem by Gareth Greenway
  • Is Your Team Ready for Microservices? by Michael Winslow
  • Open Data: The new oil fueling Civic Tech
  • Shadow Reader
  • Building Scalable and Resilient Apps with real-time GraphQL, Event-Sourcing, and Serverless

Talks I wish I could have made it to:

  • Video Game Production with Open Source tools by Tom Lechner
  • MySQL Document Store – a NoSQL JSON document Database by Dave Stokes


The last three years I attended, I was able to make it to all of the workshops I wanted to participate in. This year though, the crowd was a lot larger (yay!) and many of the workshops I wanted to go to (e.g., Kubeflow workshop)

  • Developing Applications with Kubernetes by Cullen Taylor
  • Container Security by Michael Ducy
  • Security Analytics with Elastic by Matteo Rebeschini, Cami Lewis

Fun Events

Bad Voltage Live

This year was the first time I attended the Bad Voltage Live set which seems to be a regular event at the conference. After a long day at the conference I usually wanted to rush home and rest, but this time I convinced my wife to join me, and since we were there together we decided to stay for all the extras. Not only was it funnier than I expected, but there were free drinks and food. I regret not staying for this every year!

Game Night

When we saw the table advertising game night my wife and I were quite happy because they had a copy of Ticket to Ride which is one of our favorite games to play together. The Idea of playing with someone new was exciting. We hung around after most of the events waiting for Game Night to start The first hour of the game night they dedicate to kids. Afterward, they let the adults without kids in and open the bar with free drinks for everyone.

My wife and I were searching everywhere for board games, but we didn’t find them.

They did, however, have a “Vintage Museum” which was quite fun. I spent much time at the Nintendo 64 section.

I was almost unbeatable at Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 when playing against a lot of teens (to be fair, I had spent countless hours in my high school years playing this game – and these same kids kick my butt at Fortnite ). We decided to go home before 11 PM as we never found the board games.

On our way out, what do you think we see? All the board games abandoned under a table near the entrance of the convention center.

Expo Booths

The expo hall is an amazing way to get to talk to some of your favorite companies and sometimes you even get awesome stickers or swag (I came home with ten t-shirts, two pairs of socks, and over 20 stickers which now decorate my laptop. My favorite exhibitors were:

  • Twilio
  • Gitlab
  • Free Software Foundation
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • The Linux Foundation
  • Fedora
  • Krita
  • Inkscape
  • System76
  • DC Darknet
  • Facebook
  • Hashicorp
  • Jenkins
  • Linode
  • Microsoft
  • PostgreSQL
  • MySQL
  • MariaDB
  • Rancher
  • SignalFX
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • YubiCo
  • Wavefront
  • VideoLAN organization

Last Day of SCaLE17x

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the final day of SCaLE17x as it also happened to be my wife’s birthday and we met with the family in the morning to celebrate. We also had a concert to attend that evening, so we decided not to go.

Talks I wish I would have attended included:

  • The Anatomy of a Secure Java Web App Using Apache Fortress by Shawn McKinney
  • Latency SLOs Done Right by Fred Moyer
  • Introduction to Blockchains by Lucy Wyman

Let’s meet at SCaLE18x!

Even if you aren’t a “Linux” user the conference is a pretty great way to get familiar with Free Software (Krita, Inkscape, and more) alternatives to your more popular commercial software, the environment is inviting, and there are activities for just about anyone. I will be attending again next year so if you’d like to meet me there, sign up to the email list to find out when the registration for the next SCaLE event: