Penguicon 6.0


Updated: 13 November, 2023 @ 12:58pm

Guests of Honor for 2008 will include:

Tech Guest: Jono Bacon

Jono Bacon is a consultgiving, word slinging, metal singing, open source supporting UK citizen, popular as the co-host of the LugRadio podcast. He works for Canonical as the Community Manager for Ubuntu, the most popular flavor of the Linux operating system, known as "Linux for Human Beings". If you think you're not technical enough to replace Windows with Linux, try Ubuntu.

Jono has traveled extensively to give keynote speeches at such events as Southern California Linux Expo, LinuxWorld, Linux User & Developer Conference, IBM Linux Migration Seminar, Association For Free Software Conference, IBM Developer Workshop, and numerous LUGs. He co-wrote "Desktop Linux Hacks" with Nicholas Petreley and "The Official Ubuntu Book" with Benjamin Mako Hill, Corey Burger, and Jonathan Jesse. He has written tech journalism for Linux User and Developer, Linux Format, Linux Magazine, MacTech, MacFormat and PC Plus. Jono has helped companies like IBM, Apple, Intel and Microsoft (yes, even Microsoft) create Open Source IT solutions. He's been a contributor to Open Source projects since 1998.

If that isn't cool enough, he's also the rhythm guitarist and vocalist for metal band Seraphidian and has created a heavy rock version of the Free Software Song.

You can read his blog or be his Facebook friend. He is pictured here auctioning his beard for charity.

Tech Guest: Benjamin Mako Hill

Benjamin Mako Hill is a Debian hacker and author of the Debian GNU/Linux 3.1 Bible and "The Official Ubuntu Book". Hill is known within the hacker community for his short reflections (often humorous) and essays that tend to focus on issues of free software, copyright, free culture and knowledge, as well as unpacking and analyzing errors that reveal the frequently hidden technological systems around us.

Mako has been a speaker at Wikimania 2007 in Taiwan, and the iCommons iSummit in Croatia. He currently works in the Computing Culture group of the Media Lab at MIT, the Wikimedia Foundation advisory board, and Ubuntu Community Council. He is on the board of the Free Software Foundation, a speaker for the GNU Project, an active contributor to several Wikimedia projects, an advisor to the One Laptop per Child project, and the board of Software Freedom International (the organization that organizes Software Freedom Day). Hill was on the board of Software in the Public Interest from March 2003 until July 2006, serving as the organization's vice-president from August 2004. He maintains software projects such as AttachCheck, The Free Software Project Management HOWTO, PyBlosxom Hacks and Plugins, and RubyVote.

Mako writes poetry using nothing but the names of Linux packages. He and his wife Mika wrote their wedding vows using a mathematical constraint.

Science Fiction Guest: Vernor Vinge

This year, Penguicon is thrilled to present a Grand Master at the height of his powers, who has changed the landscape of the genre irrevocably, and who is respected as a computer scientist and keynote lecturer. Vernor Vinge (pronounced Vinjee) is a retired mathematics professor at San Diego State University, and a science fiction author of the Hugo-winning Fast Times At Fairmont High, The Cookie Monster, A Fire Upon The Deep and A Deepness In The Sky. He wrote one of the earliest substantial depictions of cyberspace in "True Names and Other Dangers".

Penguicon 2005 Guest of Honor Cory Doctorow refers to Vinge's latest novel Rainbows End as "life-changingly weird and imaginative", "probably the most mind-blowing work of science fiction I've read all year: it manages to touch on the future of fandom, consensus reality, copyright, DRM, scholarship, aging, generation gaps, and global politics, while telling a technothriller adventure story that I couldn't help but devour." Vinge released Rainbows End for free online during its 2007 Hugo candidacy, which it won. Using free and open source graphics software, he created these illustrations of the computing technology depicted in the novel: (front) (back)

Mr. Vinge serves on the selection committee for the Free Software Foundation's Award for the Advancement of Free Software.

His landmark whitepaper "The Coming Technological Singularity" conjectured a time of accelerated innovation when our inventions start improving themselves. That essay put the term in the title into the common parlance of the SF and futurics communities, and embedded the concept in our imaginations. Since then, as the 2007 Penguicon Guest of Honor Charlie Stross famously noted, most serious science fiction authors since have had to grapple with writing characters who-- paradoxically-- come up with more imaginative solutions than the human author, or explain why such minds don't appear in the setting. Mr. Vinge has followed up this whitepaper with "What If The Singularity Does NOT Happen?"

Whether it does or does not happen, Vernor Vinge will be as immortal as the thinkers and dreamers from any age.

Fantasy Guest: Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce is the author of New York Times best selling books such as The Song of the Lioness, The Magic Circle, Protector of the Small, and The Immortals, to name a few, a comic fan and writer, and co-founder of Sheroes Central.

Pierce began her writing career at the precocious age of six. While at the University of Pennsylvania she wrote a book which later became "The Song of the Lioness" quartet--a series which launched her into fantasy international superstardom.

Pierce has inspired countless girls and young women to follow their hearts and do what they believe to be right, both for themselves and in general, regardless of whether or not society says it's something a girl should do. Her main characters are strong, powerful women who set an example to everyone, regardless of gender, of what a hero really is.

She is also a strong supporter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and public fan of Jeannie Breeden's webcomic "The Devil's Panties." Apparently Breeden is also a fan of hers.

Webcomics Guest: Randall Munroe

Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd! A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language. Rarely a week goes by without an xkcd comic making it to the front page of, Slashdot, BoingBoing, or the Most Popular list. And now there's a writeup in WIRED.

He has declared himself President of the Internet. Increasingly, the world adjusts itself to xkcd's reality. Alleged ninjas, allegedly from Microsoft, have been attacking Richard Stallman in order to reenact this comic. Cory Doctorow started accepting awards in costume because of this comic. Last month, hundreds of people turned up in a park in Cambridge not knowing what would happen there, just to follow the timestamp and coordinates in this comic. Well here's another one: 42.599922010369056 -83.16647171974182 2008 04 18 15 00 00

Gaming Guest: Keith Baker

Keith Baker began as a MMORPG designer, but after seeing two promising projects (VR1 Crossroads and Lost Continents) canceled after years of work, he left the video game industry for the lucrative world of freelance RPG design. Surprisingly enough, this paid off when Wizards of the Coast picked his Eberron Campaign Setting in their 2002 Fantasy Setting Search. Since then Keith has written eight RPG sourcebooks for Eberron, the Dreaming Dark trilogy of novels, and the Eye of the Wolf comic book. Feeling that computer games, roleplaying games, novels, and comics weren't enough, Baker created Gloom, a card game in which players use transparent cards to tell humorous and morbid tales. Gloom won the Origins Award for Best Traditional Card Game of the Year in 2005. As a freelance RPG writer, he has worked with companies including Atlas Games, Goodman Games, Green Ronin Games, and Paizo Press, producing material for Dungeons & Dragons, Feng Shui, Ars Magica, Mutants and Masterminds, and Over The Edge.

Keith Baker lives in Boulder, Colorado with his lovely wife Ellen, two devout cats, and a very Bossy cow.

Hack of Honor: Giant Singing Tesla Coils

The Hack of Honor idea is to create a sort of equivalent to a Guest Of Honor slot, for a project rather than a person. We're excited to announce that the inaugural Penguicon Hack Of Honor is the Giant Singing Tesla Coils, that were featured at DuckCon, and became popular on YouTube! Steve Ward, Jeff Larson and friends will bring two seven-foot-tall tesla coils to do several concerts. They will make music with lightning!

"Nifty Guests" for 2008 will include:

John Scalzi is the Campbell-winning author of the Old Man's War series and The Android's Dream. His blog, The Whatever, got 37,558 unique visitors on October 22 alone. This year we will serve his recipe for Schadenfreude Pie in the consuite.

Jorge Castro, former head of the Tech Track for Penguicon and an extremely popular tech presenter here, is External Projects Developer Liaison for Canonical, the company that leads development of Ubuntu Linux. He loves to write about GNOME, and has been a contributor to the GNOME Journal and Linux.Ars.

Sarah Monette was born and raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, one of the three Secret Cities of the Manhattan Project. She has a Ph.D. in English literature and will happily tell you more than you ever wanted to know about Renaissance revenge tragedy. She published three books in 2007: The Mirador (third in the Doctrine of Labyrinths series), The Bone Key (a collection of horror stories), and A Companion to Wolves, a collaboration with Elizabeth Bear.

Kyle Rankin is a senior system administrator for Quinstreet, Inc., the current president of the North Bay Linux Users' Group, the author of Knoppix Hacks, Knoppix Pocket Reference, Linux Multimedia Hacks, and Ubuntu Hacks and has contributed to a number of other O'Reilly books. Kyle is also a columnist for Linux Journal and has had articles featured in PC Magazine, TechTarget, and other publications.

Cherie Priest, horror author of Four and Twenty Blackbirds, internet-savvy blogger. Among other topics, Ms. Priest will participate in a discussion panel about legally and safely exploring abandoned buildings.

Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier is community manager for Novell's openSUSE Linux. A long time Linux user, Joe has many writing credits for publications and books about Linux and open source. Prior to Novell, he served Linux Magazine as Editor-in-Chief.

Lucy Snyder, author of the humor collection Installing Linux on a Dead Badger (And Other Oddities) and the short story collection Sparks and Shadows. Her writing has appeared or will appear in Doctor Who Short Trips: Destination Prague, Weird Tales, Farthing, Chiaroscuro, Masques V, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Full Unit Hookup, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, SF Site, and Strange Horizons.

Eliezer Yudkowsky, Research Fellow at the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Yudkowsky also posts daily at the econblog Overcoming Bias on reinventing the art of human rationality. His popular works range from the Twelve Virtues of Rationality to the Friendly AI Critical Failure Table.

Rob Balder, webcomics creator (PartiallyClips and Erfworld), Pegasus-award-winning filk musician (The Funny Music Project), game designer (Get Nifty) and web entrepreneur. Check out his Creative Commons Anthem.

Ben Best, Director of the Cryonics Institute in Clinton Township, Michigan. He has been President of the Cryonics Society of Canada, President & Secretary of CryoCare Foundation, and a professional in the APL computer language.

At Dragon*Con 2004, Dr. Demento declared "the great Luke Ski" to be his radio program's "Most Requested Artist of the 21st Century". Since then, Luke has held onto that title by having a song within the top five of "The Dr. Demento Show's" year-end "Funny 25" countdown of his most requested songs of the year for five years in a row, including two of them at #1. His song parodies, originals, stand-up and sketches about pop culture phenomema have made him a favorite performer at science-fiction and fandom conventions all across the Midwest and beyond. He's released six albums over the past ten plus years, and a DVD in 2006, titled "The Ego Has Landed", featuring appearances by many fellow artists of "the FuMP", nearly all of whom are appearing at Penguicon.

Aaron Diaz writes and paints Dresden Codak, an illustrated celebration of science, death and human folly. He invented Pretend To Be A Time-Traveler Day and the Historical Pre-enactment Society.

Tom Smith is a filker whose musical styles are as varied as the topics of his songs. He's played folk, operatic, hip-hop, and Klezmer, just to name a few, and sung about topics such as pop-culture, politics, and even Penguicon. He's known for instafilking (quickly writing or improvising songs) and his grueling projects—such as iTom where he produced a new song each week and his twenty-four hour song project where he wrote seventeen songs in twenty-four hours. He's been nominated for thirty-four Pegasus Awards and won fourteen of those times. He was inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame in 2005.

Jennie Breeden is the creator of the Devil's Panties, an autobiographical daily webcomic about her adventures at conventions, clubbing, and playing with pirates.

Dawn Kuczwara's acting career began at birth, when she realized that PRETENDING various emotional states got her pretty much anything she wanted. These acquired talents served her well when, in second grade, she managed to win the lead part in the Christmas pageant, beating out the other cute blonde girl in the class for the part. It was all downhill from there. As a theater student in college, Dawn auditioned for, and won, the John Belushi Memorial scholarship from The Second City, and immediately after that changed her major from theater to computer science. But she has remained involved in acting, performing off and on with the fannish improv troupe, Space Time Theater.

Greg Williams has worked as (among other things) a camp counselor, cop, armored truck driver, bill collector, helpdesk engineer, and technical manager, which all require dealing with hostile audiences and having a good sense of humor. Greg's undergrad degree was in Law Enforcement, with a minor in Theatre qualifying him to either be a cop, or on Miami Vice. (Hey, it was the 80's ok?) His unfortunate unappreciated career in community theatre forced led him into improv comedy, which he has been inflicting on providing for fannish audiences in various forms for over ten years.

The Ferrett is the co-author of the post-apocalyptic rock ‘n’ roll webcomic My Name Is Might Have Been and the author of the now-defunct nerdcore webcomic Home on the Strange. He also has roughly 6,000 people showing up daily to his blog, The Watchtower of Destruction, where he dispenses gratuitous advice, bad puns, and terrible, terrible sex stories. In addition, he’s the webmaster and editor-in-chief for Magic: the Gathering site, author of one of the world’s most popular sexual purity quizzes, and a columnist for the official Wizards of the Coast website. Despite all of this, he is unable to get anyone to publish his novels. Imagine how awful a fiction writer he must be. Pity him.

Katherine Kline is an avenger of yaks and a rocket scientist. She works for an FFRDC doing missile defense and enjoys doing almost anything related to applied mathematics in some small way. Basically, she spend her time calculating the best way to blow things up, including disabled Chinese satellites. This is only her 4th con ever, and the first she will participate in, so please be gentle. She has four cats, one crazy husband, and almost more math textbooks than you can fit into one small house.

Former Guests of Honor Returning As "Nifty Guests" for 2008 will include:

Chris DiBona has had to cancel his appearance this year.

Guests' Attendance:

Our Guests of Honor and other invited Guests commit to attending Penguicon long in advance of the actual event. Along the way (and generally at the very last moment!) circumstances beyond everyone's control may happen, resulting in the Guest not being able to attend the convention as planned. Though this is rare, it can happen. If we are made aware of a Guest's inability to attend far enough in advance, Penguicon will attempt to invite another Guest as a replacement. However, this may not always be possible. In either case, Penguicon can make no guarantee that a particular guest will be able to attend the convention, and can not be liable for the results of a Guest's cancellation.

Questions can be directed to (our Guest Coordinator)