We seriously need to have more community shows. These things are
But not necessarily for the sense of comraderie and fellowship,
though that's good too. Shows such as the Southern California Linux
Expo are going to be vital to the open source community and the
business arena because they are going to provide a much-needed
conduit for communication.
Case in point: on the second day of SCALE yesterday, the first
keynote was delivered by Dan Kegel of Google. The presentation was
entitled "Why Won't Johnny Run Linux?" and preceded to list all of
the various areas that need improvement, in Kegel's opinion, in the
Linux operating system. There was nothing on Kegel's list we
haven't heard before: lack of commercial applications, lack of
consistency with libraries and packaging, Microsoft application
integration problems, and the usual assortment of hardware and
software compatibility issues.
Now I was pretty sure at the time that Kegel was going to list
all of these concerns and then move into some form of solution set.
You know the kind that I mean: "here's how we can change the
future." It's a bit trite, but it's a worthy play. Heck, I've
written columns with that methodology myself.
Instead, that was it. No solutions, not even a rally for the
future. It was to say the least, a bit disappointing. So when the
Q&A started, the audience let fly with counterpoints on why
Kegel was a being pessimistic. During one of his comments, Kegel
mentioned historic troubles with laptops, and asked the audience
how many of them ran a laptop with no problems. Quite a few hands
went up, and he seemed skeptical. I just picked up mine off the
table and held it up in the air. I mean, are we back in the 90s or
something? I have wireless access (without running iwconfig),
plug-and-play digital camera support, streaming media, and (if I
were to break the law), DVD viewing and I'm running Kubuntu on an
iBook. And PPC has less packages than the Intel platforms, for
So, I think Kegel may have been delivered the message: the Linux
desktop is more robust than he thinks.
Another example of how the communication works both ways
occurred during the sessions on virtualization led by Dan Kusnetsky
and Kir Kolyshkin, of Open-Xchange and the OpenVZ Project,
respectively. Dan went very high end and presented a strong
business case on why virtualization will be a huge part of the IT
workplace in coming years. Kir, who's working to get the OpenVZ
code into the mainline Linux kernel, went high-tech, outlining the
various virtualization techniques and then presenting a live demo
on how the vzctl client works.
Different approaches to nearly the same topic, but the audiences
really got into it, and while each of their talks were okay, it was
the Q&A sessions that really got people motivated. And, talking
with Dan and Kir after the show last night, I know they picked up
some new ideas as well.
And that was happening over and over throughout both days of the
show. In quite a few cases, the presenters were learning just as
much as the audience members. Which is why I think that these
regional community shows are a must-have. Businesses and open
source leaders can communicate with community members on an
individual basis at any time, but the real synergy comes through
these group dialogs.
If you are a LUG and are contemplating holding a regional show,
such as SCALE, the Ohio LinuxFest, or NorthwestFest, I urge you to
examine the benefits of these shows and others like them. I believe
in the long run they will be very advantageous for the Linux
Tomorrow morning will find me in San Francisco, exploring the
very opposite of these shows: the Open Source Business
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