It’s rare that I will conceded that the benefits of sleep can sometimes be outweighed. This happens to be one of those rare instances. I purchased my LinuxCon ticket many months ago. And when the event finally rolled around, as big and significant as I think LinuxCon is; as lucky as I was to have have it take place 15 minutes from where I live, I dozed through day one. What can I say? The stuff I was most interested in was scheduled for the morning, and I wasn’t feeling too well. Of course I wanted to see Linus Torvalds at the 2:00 Roundtable, The Linux Kernel: Straight from the Source, but I wouldn’t have understood it anyway. I love Linux as an end-user, after all. It’s also much easier to blow something off when you’ve paid your own way.
I managed to show up for day two and kicked myself for missing out on some great talks and cool inventions. Sure, nearly everybody else there was a developer, business owner, or open source expert of another breed, but it was just a fun atmosphere to play in – regardless of my lack of understanding. I saw a computer that was approximately 3″ x 3″ x 1″, I heard people making jokes about inferior processors (that got big laughs), and I learned about some fascinating open source ventures taking place in my own back yard. It was a good time. Android wasn’t discussed as far as I know, though there were plenty of G1s to be seen. But the roots – and kernel – of Google’s mobile OS is Linux. Hence, my excuse for covering it here.
I’ve got video footage and pictures galore, but not the time to go through it just yet. I’ll be back with more of that later this week. For now, here are a few of my highlights from day two at LinuxCon.
Free Geek is a Portland-based non-profit that repurposes old computers, teaches people how to use them and offers support, and perhaps most importantly, spreads FLOSS across the land. I just might go volunteer a time or two myself. I’m interested in their command line classes, and 24 hours of work gets you a free desktop like the one under all those penguins… on the right. You can’t see it here, but a nice looking tablet in front of the gentlemen on your left cost him $100 at Free Geek. Cool.
Interesting things continue to happen with Moblin after Intel handed the netbook and mobile OS project over to The Linux Foundation. For instance, openSUSE has their own Moblin build called Goblin, which we were told will be powering the netbooks on the shelves major gadget stores before too long. I’ve got some video of both the demo shown here and a talk on “The Future of the Linux Desktop,” which actually turned out to be a presentation about Goblin. Check back for that.
If you haven’t heard of the One Laptop Per Child project, click the link and check it out. I wasn’t aware of his involvement until he mentioned it, but Noah Broadwater, Vice President of Information Services Sesame Workshop (below), had a part in developing OLPC.
The first keynote I saw at LinuxCon was called Building a More Agile Web Experience While Driving Down Costs. In spite of the name, it was pretty interesting. Noah Broadwater talked about the logistics of running a video, flash, and game-intensive website that gets 1 million unique visitors a month with an average visit of 27 minutes. That site is SesameStreet.org, so the podium and stage were decorated with little fuzzy creatures. He also spoke about reusing Big Bird footage from the 70s, what it takes to actually educate a child via television and the web, and how Sesame Street prevents children from begging their parents for products.
Of course, Linus Torvalds is LinuxCon’s resident rock star, and despite being treated a bit like the dancing teen in a Mickey outfit at Disneyland, the guy was totally gracious – even as he explained that he was desperately looking for some downtime, and as I responded by saying that there was nothing I could do; I just had to have a photo with him. Thanks, Linus.
There will be plenty more to discuss tomorrow when I get back from the LinuxCon wrap-up. Then I can sort through some of this video and see what deserves editing and posting. I’m sure that will include a chunk of Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote on coordinated software releases. I don’t know if you all would rather see a sort of highlight reel, or complete footage from the events I can hit. If you feel strongly either way, speak up in the comments.