Linux World, Day 1 (Tuesday)
First things first: If you’re at Linux World in San Francisco this week, feel free to stop by the Fedora booth and say hello. For those of you keeping score at home, I’m a Fedora ambassador and I’ve been staffing the booth at the exhibition. If you aren’t at the show, you’re missing a good one. More details to follow.
Without further adeiu:
Hopping: The word from the floor is that this is a more subdued Linux World than years past, according to those who stopped by the Fedora booth (where I essentially was stationed all day). I couldn’t disagree more — this place was absolutely hopping on Tuesday and materials and media flew off the Fedora table. A very healthy crowd traversed the floor of the exhibition throughout the day, tapering off during times when sessions were, well, in session.
The crowd on day one was also a huge cross-section of people with a wide range of abilities. Those who are new to GNU/Linux and FOSS — those are the folks whose eyes are a tad wider than the others — were very receptive to our neighbors and us (we’re bounded on the north by Creative Commons, on the south by Bay Area LUG). All were great — and I certainly hope that those who are new to this find the same passion and satisfaction in FOSS that most of us already share.
Observation: Those show-goers who have more experience in GNU/LInux and FOSS generally fall into three categories: uniters, dividers and whiners.
The uniters “get it.” — they understand that, for all intents and purposes, we’re all in this together. Those are the folks I’ve talked to who may not use the same distro or desktop environment that I use, but realize that what’s good for one is good for everyone — we all rise up together. Generally speaking, these are the open-minded folks who keep FOSS afloat, regardless of one’s preferences.
The dividers, well, just don’t get it. The dividers, of which unfortunately there are many, would rather talk about how great their distro is and not pay attention to what you — another distro user — has to say. They come in different levels and garden varieties, but let’s look what could be (could be) more than coincidental happenstance on Tuesday. Exhibit A presents several CentOS users who have come to the Fedora booth to, essentially, tell us how great their distro is in comparison to ours; some without the courtesy to me (or anyone else) to hear us out about why we prefer our distro.
[Note to CentOS users at the show or beyond: Feel free to flame here, but bear in mind that I think CentOS is an excellent distro. However, if the centerpiece of CentOS's marketing plan is to trash other distros, then you may want to try something else.]
While I’m not one to shy away from a debate (or worse), I do have my diplomacy hat on during the show, so you won’t hear any arguments from me.
The whiners: That’s pretty self explanatory, and in more than a few instances, the reason they’re whining has something to do with a facet of a distro — any distro — that’s sort of impossible to address, at least digitally; and if it is addressable digitally, it’s so far removed from the normal course of the average computer user that it’s not included in the release (which begs the question for those advanced users who also double as whiners: Want that feature? Ever think of contributing it?). But this is what we hear: “You’re distro won’t run on my toaster and won’t walk the dog in the morning. What’s wrong with you guys?” A shrug and a smile kind of sends them on their way, and I’m not convinced there’s much we can do about them.
Who’s here: While the usual cast of characters are here, a couple of folks who deserve special mention are here so far and have stopped by the booth. Cathy and Earl Malmrose have the ZaReason booth up and running great guns a few booths down from us — go guys! Tod Landis of dbEntrance also came up from Boulder Creek and spent some time in the booth. Christian Einfeldt of the Digital Tipping Point, camera always at the ready, also got yet even more footage around the Lindependence event from the floor of the exhibition.
[Again, let me emphasize, as I did on camera, that I am not a slob -- if it appears I haven't shaved in several days, it's because I haven't: I'm regrowing my beard so I look more like my picture here.]
More from the floor of the show on Wednesday as things develop, connectivity willing.
(Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)