Speaker Interview: Alison Chaiken


Alison Chaiken returns to speak at SCALE 13x this year, giving a talk on "systemd for Developers" on SCALE 13x Saturday at 11:30 a.m. The SCALE Team caught up with Alison for a brief interview, which touches on the types of sessions at SCALE as well as beer-soaked Dance Dance Revolution sessions. To find out more, read on.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?

A: I'm a 52-year-old physicist who has switched from a career of scientific-apparatus building to embedded Linux development. At some point I realized that my computer-wrangling hobby was a more viable career and took courses at night to change fields. For the past four years, I've been working on the extremely fast-moving and exciting field of automotive Linux. I run the 1,100-plus-person, non-profit Silicon Valley Automotive Open Source Group in order to promote software best practices in the automotive industry and networking in the local area.

Q: You're giving a talk on "systemd for Developers." Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?

A: TIpping my hand all the way, I can reveal that I'll give a new version of a LUG talk (http://she-devel.com/systemd_talk.pdf) where I expand on the material that didn't fit the first time. The first talk was more introductory, while this one is more about the design and features of systemd.

Q: Is this your first visit to SCALE? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?

A: I believe that this will be my third visit. Once before I gave a presentation and organized a booth on automotive Linux. SCALE combines technical talks of the utmost quality with tremendous community energy and the best game room ever. Previous highlights for me have been Dallas Legan's amazing presentation about media from the command-line, a deep technical dive about sudo and a beer-soaked Dance Dance Revolution session that nearly killed me. I met folks at the exhibit whom I've kept in touch with ever since.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

A: I'm going to spend some time helping out at the Free Software Foundation booth. While "information wants to be free," software development costs money, so please consider financially supporting the organizations that make Linux possible, many of whom will be represented at SCALE.

[SCALE Team interview by Larry Cafiero]