Editor's Note: Educating IT with Live, Naked Penguins
Sep 15, 2006, 22:30 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)
Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame
By Brian Proffitt
It has often been said that community plays a big part in making
free and open source software so successful.
A statement like that is pretty obvious--along the lines of "a
big part of why living is so successful is breathing." Forgive the
cliche, but sometimes I wonder if this message has really sunk in.
Sure, it's all fun and camaraderie when LinuxWorld rolls around in
your neck of the planet, but beyond that, does the FLOSS community
really practice good community methods?
Yes and no. The "no" comes from the almost constant baiting and
arguing about various fine points of open source software. I'm not
talking just about KDE vs. GNOME, either. I've seen full-blown
flamewars start for as something as esoteric as license choice. Or
scripting techniques. I've never really understood that, because
these arguments are usually among people who agree with each other
99.9% of the time on everything else.
And I am still amazed at how many times some person or company
makes a negative comment--or even just less than positive--about
Linux or open source and almost immediately everyone assumes it's
because they're a paid Microsoft agent. That drive me up the wall,
because I know that its usually just the opposite: people mostly
criticize Linux because (a) there may be a legitimate need or (b)
they may not know any better.
When the "agent" label is slapped on a critique, its frustrating
because it demonstrates to the commenter that the Linux community
is far too defensive and--more importantly--not willing or not able
to help correct the very situation that was being criticized.
It needs to be about, as I have written time and again,
education. Which is why there is a "yes" answer to the question of
practicing good community. There are people and organizations that
make it a point to reach out and correct the misconceptions people
in the IT industry have about FLOSS. One such group of people is
putting on one of the best examples of community outreach and
fellowship later this month: the Ohio LinuxFest.
The event, scheduled for September 30 at the Greater Columbus
Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, is in its fourth year of
operation and it's still going strong. It's primary mission remains
unchanged: an event for Linux users to come together as well as a
venue where non-Linux users can come and learn more about Linux and
the rest of FLOSS.
One of the areas that will be highlighted in this year's event
will be virtualization. Normally you wouldn't think of such a
high-end topic being showcased at a grassroots event. On the
contrary, according to event organizer Greg Boehnlein,
virtualization is an area where many small and medium sized IT
organizations are seeking a lot of help and guidance.
Fellow organizer Joe Brockmeier agrees: "With XenSource and the
free VMWare Player and Server, there are a lot of stable and free
as in beer virtualization options out there for people to use."
To that end, Ohio LinuxFest will feature a panel of experts
leading a discussion on virtualization technology. Also featured
will be addresses from Jon "Maddog" Hall of Linux International,
Chris DiBona of Google, Novell's Ted Haeger, and Canonical's Jeff
Waugh--just to name a few. The show organizers also told me that
the Linux Professional Institute will be conducting LPI
certification tests on Friday, September 29.
Brockmeier also mentioned "live, naked penguins" referring, I
believe, to a talk from the world famous Columbus Zoo about
penguins that will feature the water fowl as guests. At least, I
hope that's what he meant. Those people over at NewsForge... you
never know. :)
Kidding aside, looking at the lists of speakers and topics, and
knowing that the show's exposition floor has grown from last year,
I will not hesitate to urge readers in the Midwest to get in their
modes of transportation and get to Columbus on the 30th. But that's
an easy one. Here's where I task you to do something extra--to be a
good community member.
If you know someone, personally or professionally, who is new or
curious about FLOSS, this is the perfect event to bring them to.
Their questions can be answered, and they can meet real people who
are creating and using FLOSS everyday. The price can't be beat,
either: free or a $65 All Conference Pass that gets you, among
other things, lunch, a t-shirt, and access to the conference suite
at the nearby Holiday Inn. Check the site
http://www.ohiolinux.org/attend.html for details.
Bringing a colleague or a friend isn't about boosting the
attendance numbers. It's about achieving the Ohio LinuxFest's most
important goal: to educate as many as possible about the joys of
Linux and FLOSS.
And reaching out, my friends, is what being a great community is