For those who aren’t aware, The Tox Project was an exhibitor at this year’s Southern California Linux Expo, one of the largest Linux and FOSS-related conventions in the U.S. We were there to spread awareness of Tox and The Tox Project, and to get some feedback from the community regarding our work.
My experience at SCaLE started out with the excellent Friday morning keynote by the EFF’s Cory Doctorow (who later dropped by our booth to chat). Afterward, I went to check out our booth space on the expo floor and set up. It’s an interesting feeling to be setting up your booth with nothing but some stickers, a laptop, a vinyl banner, and a television, while HP and Facebook at the neighboring booths are hauling in truckloads of mainframe servers, custom-built networking switches, and the like to show off. However, despite our small-fry stature, I think that The Tox Project did pretty well for itself.
Over-all, the experience was extremely positive. Many of the expo attendees that stopped by our booth had already heard of Tox, or had used it before in some capacity. Everyone had good things to say about our efforts; the large amount of moral support we received was very encouraging. Our logo is also apparently very popular; we ran completely out of our die-cut Tox lock logo stickers, and were left with only 3 small stacks of our rectangular stickers, so I’m looking forward to seeing those Tox stickers pasted everywhere! Here are some up-close pictures of the stickers we brought:
One thing was made very clear to me during the expo by attendees that came to the booth; Tox fills a niche in free software that very seriously needs filling. There is a need and want for something like Tox both at home and at the workplace by more people than you can count. Tox has seen some pretty rough times, and isn’t yet in the best of possible shapes, but we have incredible staying power, in large part because of the widespread desire for a drop-in Skype replacement that doesn’t abuse its end-users. Because of this staying power, we’re improving, and will always continue to do so.
In addition, a few of the things we already know were made more evident; Tox is not going to see wide adoption until we solve a few very big technical problems. Tox needs distributed solutions to the multi-device problem, the name-to-ID mapping problem (currently worked around with ToxMe), and the offline messaging problem. None of these problems are impossible to solve, they’re just very difficult to do correctly. We’ve already seen at least one proposal for a solution, but nothing that we can implement immediately; we need more manpower for research and implementation. On that note, if you (or someone you know) are a strong C programmer with experience in distributed systems, and you’re looking for a FOSS project to contribute to, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be glad to get you up to speed.
There isn’t much more for me to fill you in on, with regard to SCaLE. We spoke to very many people, and I think that we were successful at doing what we came to do.
All-in-all, SCaLE has left me refreshed. I’m glad that I’m able to start this year with a renewed vigor for The Tox Project, and I look forward to us continuing our mission to enable free and secure exchange of information via Tox.
Shout-outs to Digital Ocean, Snowdrift, Open Source Initiative, and all of the other awesome exhibitors that we got a chance to meet with at SCaLE. And a shout-out to my good friends whyt and swiss, for volunteering some of their time at our booth.
In case you didn’t catch them on our Facebook/Twitter, here are a few pictures from the event. They include Chuong Vu, an ObjcTox developer, Greg Mullen (grayhatter), the main developer of uTox, and myself (zero-one).