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SoCalSUSE: The Southern California openSUSE, & SUSE/Rancher Community

SoCalSUSE Banner


SoCalSUSE is a diverse community of fun-loving friends in Southern California with a passion for the openSUSE Project.

Members of SoCalSUSE are regular openSUSE enthusiasts, users, and contributors that collaborate together. Many volunteer annually working booths promoting openSUSE and related projects. They share their knowledge of and enthusiasm for the openSUSE project by artfully leveraging their hard-skills and soft-skills to network and connect with people - online and in-person. They are the liaisons between the Southern California community and the broader openSUSE Project.

SoCalSUSE is essentially a local instance and outgrowth of the openSUSE Advocate (aka Ambassador) and Local Coordinator efforts from years past. While those programs are largely dormant within the openSUSE Project, SoCalSUSE carries forward their legacy and spirit in the Southern California market.


  1. Everyone has something to contribute: openSUSE is not just for developers. Anyone and everyone has something to contribute. Of course we need developers but most projects have more developers than any other skills. We also need technical writers, journalists, translators, graphic artists, photographers, musicians, lawyers, video editors, social media managers, podcasters, bug reporters... the list goes on and on.
  2. Come as you are and develop new skills: Come as you are with whatever skills and interests you have. Let those things drive new areas of contribution and growth... your own growth and the growth of the project.
  3. openSUSE is the best project to contribute to: The openSUSE Project doesn't just create one piece of software or even just one Linux distribution. We contribute to many upstream open-source projects such as the Linux kernel, KDE, GNOME, Systemd, GNU, Mozilla, Python, Ruby and so many others. Additionally we are the upstream project for other open-source software like YaST, zypper, Open Build Service, Machinery. So no matter what you want to contribute to or in whatever way you want to contribute, we are the perfect place for you to do so.
  4. Have a contribution-first mindset: You don't need to already be an openSUSE user to contribute.Jump in, and get started. Don't worry about being a user first. Learn as you go and grow as you learn. Let your contributions lead you into being a user instead of the other way around.
  5. The openSUSE community is the best: The openSUSE community is very helpful and approachable. Not only do we have the standard/classic communication channels such as forums, mailing lists, and IRC/Libera.Chat. We are also on the more modern social media and chat platforms (such as Telegram, and Discord). We meet people where they are and allow them to jump in. We like to lower the barrier of entry to contribution by leveraging tools like the Open Build Service.
  6. openSUSE is a lot of fun: Fun is baked into our Project. The community gathers regularly, just for fun in the openSUSE Bar. By being involved with openSUSE, you will meet new people and make new friends and have a lot of fun. Contributions can be challenging, but it is made easier when it feels more like you're just having fun with your friends building something cool together.


  • Organize and/or represent openSUSE at local events and conferences
  • Act as an evangelist and liaisons between the openSUSE Project and the public
  • Promote use of openSUSE technologies and contributions to the openSUSE Project
  • Help support user migrations to openSUSE Leap or Tumbleweed
  • Have a lot of fun!


Currently our primary means of communication is via our "SoCalSUSE & Friends" Facebook Group and associated Messenger chat. However, we have our own Telegram channel, and we are working to migrate our team chat there and away from the closed Messenger chatroom. So, if you're interested in chatting with us, make sure to join us on Telegram.

The Team

The SoCalSUSE team is made up of a very diverse set of individual contributors. Some are more technical than others. Some are more familiar and connected with the project than others. We have several SoCalSUSE contributors that are registered as openSUSE Advocates and/or are openSUSE Project Members. Regardless of their background, everyone has a lot of fun informing people about the openSUSE Project and community. We love getting people involved and contributing in any way they can.

SoCalSUSE has been going strong for about a decade and in that time we have had contributors come... and go. Below is a non-exhaustive list of active SoCalSUSE contributors.

Name Role Location
Drew Adams Founding Contributor (since 2012) Long Beach, California, USA
Roger Luedecke Founding Contributor (2012 - 2018) Riverside, California, USA
Zeak Dreger Active Contributor Anaheim, California, USA
Chrissy Dreger Active Contributor Anaheim, California, USA
Patrick Finie Active Contributor Camarillo, California, USA
Romy Meyerson Active Contributor Reseda, California, USA
Lauren Gabbaian Active Contributor Long Beach, California, USA
Jennifer Ciaccio Active Contributor
Joanna Active Contributor
Paul Mekhedjian Active Contributor
Raphael Alejandro Active Contributor
Ian Carroll Active Contributor Los Angeles, California, USA
Leo Hidalgo Active Contributor Los Angeles, California, USA
Brian Smith Active Contributor Michigan, USA
Bhavisha Dhruve Active Contributor Cerritos, California, USA
Matthew McGraw Active Contributor Stockton, California, USA


Upcoming Events

NOTE: From 2022 and onward, all upcoming SoCalSUSE events will be listed in the general Upcoming Events page in addition to being added in this section. This was not always done in the past. By adding the event to the Upcoming Events page, we ensure broader visibility to the rest of the openSUSE Project.


SCaLE 19x (2022): July 28th - July 31st

Due to the COVID Pandemic, the dates for SCaLE 19x were changed from March 2022 to July 2022

We will have a booth at SCaLE 19x at the LAX Hilton in Los Angeles. Passes may be purchased at a 50% discount using the promo code "SUSE".

Principal Organizer: Drew Adams

Booth Numbers:

I have reached out to Bala (community booth coordinator on the SCaLE Team) and confirmed with him that our booths are all next to each other.

  • openSUSE - 601
  • - 603
  • KDE - 605
  • NextCloud - 607

Expo Hours:

  • July 29, 2022 2:00pm – 6:00pm
  • July 30, 2022 10:00am – 6:00pm
  • July 31, 2022 10:00am – 2:00pm

Venue Address:

Hilton Los Angeles Airport 5711 W. Century Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90045

SCaLE's COVID Policy:

To ensure everyone’s health and safety, SCALE requires that all attendees present proof of vaccination (or a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the event). Masks will be mandatory all times with the exception of presenters on stage.

Event Pages:

Staff Volunteers:

  • Drew Adams
  • Joanna Mazgaj
  • Ezeakiel Dreger
  • Matt McGraw
  • Patrick Finie
  • Lauren Gabbaian
  • Paul Mekhedjian
  • Roger Luedecke
  • Romy Meyerson
  • Bhavisha Shah
  • Ian Carroll

Data Con LA 2022: August 13th & 14th

Principal Organizer: Patrick Finie

Patrick has secured the team a booth at DataCon LA 2022, however he will not be available to work the booth, so he is not included in the staff volunteers list.

Staff Volunteers:

  • Drew Adams
  • Lauren Gabbaian
  • Romy Meyerson

Previous Events

In The News

The work of the SoCalSUSE team has been mentioned on various news.o.o articles over the years in addition to other places around the Internet. Most of the time the team is aware of and even involved in these articles, but sometimes our work will get mentioned without any involvement or prompting by us. Any time we are aware or become aware of a mention of our work online, we add a link to it in this section.



openSUSE booth @ SCaLE 9x (2011)

openSUSE Booth @ SCaLE 9x

In February 2011 Drew went to the Southern California Linux Expo (SCaLE 9x) held in Los Angeles, California at the LAX Hilton for the first time as a regular attendee. After he visited the openSUSE booth a few times, those working the booth took notice that he kept coming around. After talking with him more in depth they realized that he knew a fair amount about the project and invited him to join them. Once they found out he was a Southern California local, they asked if he would be interested in helping to organize the booth in the future. He agreed. He has been doing so every year since.

This list is reconstructed from memory roughly a decade after-the-fact. It may be incomplete.

openSUSE Hackfest @ SCaLE 9x

Name Nickname From
Bryen Yunashko suseROCKS Chicago, Il, USA
Jos Poortvliet jospoortvliet Netherlands
Bruno Friedmann tigerfoot Basel, Switzerland
Izabel Valverde izabelvalverde Sao Paolo, SP, Brazil
Carlos Ribeiro carlosribeiro Sao Paolo, Brasil
Helen South helen_au Sydney, Australia
Kostas Koudaras warlordfff Thessaloniki, Greece
Chuck Payne terrorpup/lupinstein Atlanta, GA USA
James Mason bear454 Bellingham, WA, USA
Alan Clark AClark Provo, UT, USA
Stephen Shaw sshaw Provo, UT, USA
R Tyler Ballance rtyler Oakland, CA, USA