Ottawa Linux Symposium

We have served the Linux Community for 15 years, but now we need some help.
Andrew Hutton
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357 Facebook Friends
Ottawa, Ontario
1 Team Member
The Linux Symposium (OLS) started in 1999 as meeting place for developers who worked together every day but never got to see each other face to face.  15 years later the majority of the people at that first event have become good friends, and the many work for the largest corporations in computing today. 

OLS was also one of the conferences where a “first time paper writer” might have a chance of having his paper selected, published and (for the first time) stand in front of a knowledgeable audience, with the speaker's legs shaking, as they presented their thoughts and asked for opinions.

Jon maddog Hall, Linux International

What Happened?

When you run an event you have to make commitments in advance for things like venue space. The only way to estimate what you need is past experience, and based on this and feedback from previous attendees and sponsors we booked space in Montreal nearly a year in advance. During the following year several things happened, the economy collapsed, and sponsorship dropped suddenly by a massive amount, then immediately after the event one of the organizers departed to join another organization. This left the founder to deal with the losses, and because of how corporate law and secured credit works the protections of a limited liability company no longer provided any insulation from the losses.

Increasingly large sums of personal resources being poured into the debt with the aim to use revenue to cover the losses when the economy improved and our sponsors returned (which most sponsors assured us would happen the following year) but something else happened that year and their support did not materialize.

I learned about OLS during my final year of undergrad studies at Pune Institute of Computer technology (PICT).  My proposal was accepted and paper published in 2010. I have done my best to participate every year since.  Including these papers on my resume has helped me bag great Linux development jobs and now a place at Carnegie Mellon University where I am completing my Masters.

Swapnil Pimpale

The Plan

We need raise enough to pay down the losses that are currently part of a secured credit system, meaning that bankruptcy is not a solution as the debt will only continue to fall on the organizer personally.

A Personal Plea

While the event has been self-supporting in years after Montreal, I had to admit to the attendees at the end of the event this year that this would be ending. Many people expressed a feeling that having an independent and highly technical event was something they valued greatly and that they would like to help. This campaign is the best way we could come up with to reach out and offer the community a way to help.

The sad truth is that even in hindsight the only way to have avoided this would have been to suddenly cancel the event in Montreal and file for corporate bankruptcy leaving everyone with flights, hotel and other arrangements hanging and at the time with the repeated assurances that the short-fall was only short-term this felt like a far too drastic approach to the problem. However now I am personally stuck with the debt, interest and penalties on it adding up monthly and I just don't see a way to get out of this hole without help.

For the last 2 years I've been working like mad putting everything I have into trying to pay down this debt but I am failing to make progress because of the interest penalties.

Andrew, and all the good people who helped organize OLS each year, put on quite a show, being intentional about building the community – not by numbers (though for quite a while, attendance grew and grew) – but providing space to build deep personal connections that are so critical to the open source development model. It’s much harder to be angry about someone rejecting your patches when you’ve met them face to face, and rather than think it’s out of spite, understand the context behind their decisions, and how you can better work within that context. I first met many of the Linux developers face-to-face at OLS that became my colleagues for the last 15 years.

Matt Domsch, Dell Inc.

    You Can Help

    We hope that you feel that our efforts over the last 15 years and our contributions to the Linux community should end in something other than financial disaster. We sincerely believe in the contributions we have made over the years and the movement we have helped to build. Even a small contribution will add up and help avoid the worst case outcome.


    In 2008 a friend who considers OLS the most prestigious, academically-inclined Linux technical conference in the world recommended that I submit a paper. I presented to an amazing audience of researchers and engineers. I still reference this paper on my resume and it has contributed to my landing a full time job and contracts in the years since. Even today I still get calls and emails from recruiters who reference my participation in OLS.

    Bob Murphy
    , La Vita Nuova,


    I am happy to discuss anything here on a one on one basis with anyone and I can be reached at  and we have a Facebook page at and we are on Twitter as @linuxsymposium

    Being part of the Linux Community for nearly the last quarter century has been the best experience of my life and one I will be proud of forever.

    Please keep in mind the 'perks' are just suggestions, even small amounts will help get things back on track and if you have other ideas please get in touch!

    Some History

    Intermezzo was first presented at the 1999 Linux Symposium.

    The first presentation on the XFS port was presented at the 2000 event.

    In 2002 it appears Wayne Meretsky released details on the AMD Hammer, a chip that was not announced to the public until April 2003.

    The first public announcement/discussion of futexes was at the 2002 event in the paper "Fuss, Futexes and Furwocks: Fast Userlevel Locking in Linux" and this paper is still referenced in the current documentation.

    From 2002-2006 the Kernel Summit was co-located with OLS.

    Kdump was discussed in 2005, and the current documentation still uses the presentation as a reference.

    hrtimer was inspired by the proposals in the 2006 presentation "We Are Not Getting Any Younger: A New Approach to Time and Timers"

    sysfs was first publicly discussed in 2005 and the official documentation still uses Patrick Mochel's presentation details.

    The four user-selectable IO schedulers (deadline, anticipatory, noop, and CFQ were first publicly presented in 2005.

    Systemtap was also introduced at the 2005 event.

    If you have other things you think should be on this list, get in touch!

    Blogs & Articles

    Jon maddog Hall published this blog posting  on July 29th. 

    Neil van Dyke mentioned us on the 31st at 

    Matt Domsch wrote something on Aug 1st, it covers many of the public issues we ran into;

    If you come across more mentions let us know!

    Find This Campaign On
    raised by 357 people in 2 months
    58% funded
    No time left
    $60,000 CAD goal
    Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
    Campaign Closed
    This campaign ended on September 24, 2014
    Select a Perk
    • $10CAD
      $10 Contribution

      No "perk", other than the fact that you are helping show to the potential sponsors that you think conferences like OLS are worth supporting for the Linux community, but you just do not have 25 dollars in your pocket at the moment. Every donation helps.

      34 claimed
    • $25CAD

      You'd really like to support us and help us get back on track! We'll also send you a laptop sticker with our logo to thank you.

      65 claimed
    • $50CAD
      Major Supporter

      You'd like to support us and we'll list your name on the website and in the event programme! We'll also send you a Laptop Sticker with our logo!

      34 claimed
    • $99CAD
      Friend of OLS / T-Shirt

      We hope that you have gotten a lot out of OLS over the years and in return for your support will list your name and company affiliation (if desired) on our website as a Friend of the Linux Symposium. The Linux community has shown the world that we work better together. You will also get a Friend of the Linux Symposium T-Shirt and a laptop sticker as a big thank you for your support and our most wholehearted thanks!

      79 claimed
    • $199CAD
      2015 Symposium - Registration

      If you choose this perk you will get one pass for the next event, we are hoping June/July 2015 if we are able to recover enough to save the event. We understand that this is a leap of faith and this means choosing this means a lot to us. You will also get the special run T-Shirt as part of this perk! We would also welcome you to join our community mailing list to help steer future events!

      38 claimed
    • $899CAD
      Patron Sponsorship

      Perfect for small companies who would like to support the community and get exposure but don't have a large marketing budget. As a Patron you get 3 event passes and recognition on our website as a Patron level sponsor. With the 3 passes this sponsorship level is a great deal for exposure! You get your company mentioned on the website as an event Patron, if you would like your logo added as well please consider a Bronze level sponsorship.

      3 claimed
    • $2,499CAD
      Bronze Corporate Sponsor

      This perk also includes a Bronze sponsorship for the next event and this includes your logo posted on our website and on all printed materials. This also includes 5 passes for the next event and mention every time we thank sponsors for their support. Before selecting this perk please get in touch with us directly to obtain the latest Sponsor Information Package.

      0 claimed
    • $3,900CAD
      Silver Corporate Sponsor

      All the Bronze sponsorship perks, plus a full a Silver level event sponsorship! This also includes a half page ad in the programme, you will also receive 10 passes for the next event. Before selecting this perk please get in touch with us directly to obtain the latest Sponsor Information Package.

      0 claimed
    • $13,000CAD
      Gold Corporate Sponsor

      All the sponsorship perks, plus a full Gold level event sponsorship! This also includes a full page ad in the programme with cover placement available, you will also receive 15 passes for the next event. Before selecting this perk please get in touch with us directly to obtain the latest Sponsor Information Package.

      0 claimed
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