Last year was my first year and to be honest my expectations weren't very high for this year. In 2007 the atmosphere was decidedly "counter culture" and off the main stream. Not that this was a bad thing but a great many of the attendees were the "I'm 17 and I wear all black all the time" type and there were old men with neck beards. My hopes weren't high.
2008 proved that things (and times) are changing for the FLOSS crowd. I was amazed at the diversity of people. The crowds average age was considerably more adult (think mid twenties). There was a fantastic racial mix. Black, white, asian, and whatever were well represented. There were also women there that were (at least by appearances) NOT drugged and placed in the trunk of the car for transport. Don't get me wrong, I saw several cases where it was obvious that at least some of the female attendees were humoring someone but they were in the minorty. There were also a good chunk of parents there with their kids. It was nice to see.
The conference vendors were dominated by HP. The HP OSS Community Manager well represented his company and he did a great job. Novell also did fantastic at bringing Suse (OpenSuse) to the table. Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier (Novell Community Manager) was a top notch presenter. Say what you want about Novell, they really are trying to do their part. IBM, well they showed up. Gale (IBM) was late getting set up because some of their display wasn't delivered until noon. Gale didn't have much to work with but at least she was there and very personable. There were quite a few other companies there, and I talked with nearly all of them.
Most of the mainstream distros were represented with Ubuntu being both the most popular booth and the most widely used distro among the surveyed attendees. This does not shock anyone.
The sessions that I attended were more professional and educational than the previous year. Check out the OLF2008 program guide at their website for any details you might want.
Jono Bacon's closing keynote was well delivered and entertaining.