[LWN Logo]
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 23:11:23 -0600
From: Sean Reifschneider <jafo@tummy.com>
To: lug@lug.boulder.co.us
Subject: [lug] Linux Fest 2000 Report, Day One

You can get this on the web at http://www.tummy.com/conferencereports/
Updates will be included there, as will pictures (though there are no
pictures from day one)

Linux Fest 2000, Kansas City
Tuesday 2000-06-20
Sean Reifschneider, tummy.com, ltd.

Today was the first day of Linux Fest in Kansas City.  We arrived rather
late last night, and the show web page and other announcements didn't
include any hours that presentations were happening today.  So it was
easy to justify not getting to the show until after noon.  The one thing
we really wanted to see was Bruce Perens "Venture Capital" show.
We have a new venture, you see.  ;-) Unfortunately, that was at 10am.

Fortunately, Evelyn ran into him in the halls, and he was bored, so he
stopped by our booth and gave us some pointers on what to look for in
financing our new venture.

Apparently, the presentations today were very poorly attended (as in
6 people).  The story I heard for this was that initially you had to
pay extra to get into the business talks, but then there weren't many
attendees, so they made it free.  The problem was nobody knew today's
stuff was free...

Our booth is right by the LUGs, which is where we like to be.  We spoke
for a while with the Kansas City LUG folks, and watched the nasty rain

For the evening's festivities, Larry Augustin from VALinux was talking
about Open Source Software.  It was at a chain resteraunt/bar,
so there was plenty of socializing before the presentation.
Eric Raymond joined us for dinner and showed off his new Pride and
Joy, a new configuration mechanism for the kernel called "cml2".

It's actually looking pretty sweet.  It's a language which defines
how all the configuration items in the kernel relate, and a
hierarchical structure for presenting them to the user (you know,
a menu).  The tool itself contains a lot of smarts.  For example,
if you enable an option which requires other options to be enabled,
it will enable them as well.  The smart thing is if you later enable
something else which relies on some of the same things, then disable
the original option, the no-longer-necessary options will be disabled.

It includes rather nice interfaces similar to "menuconfig" and "xconfig"
for configuring the kernel...  Eric now has to get a buy-off, but it sounds
like a pretty easy sell.

Want to enable USB?  You can bring up a search, look for USB, and you'll
be presented with a synthetic menu of *ONLY* the USB options.

Larry's talk was fairly good.  Attendance there was around 30 (not bad
considering you had to pay an extra $20/each to get in to it, and it was
before the show really got into full-swing).  It covered:

   Open Source is inevitable -- Larry's opinion.  :-)

   Open Source is dominating key markets.  Apache is 60% of the web server
   market.  Linux is somewhere around 30% of Internet servers.

   Open Source is more efficient.  In a commercial environment, one
   person innovates, then the competitors have to scramble to implement
   that feature (or risk being uncompetitive), before they can go on and
   innovate for themselves.  With Open Source, multiple projects can
   share code or merge (for example, within 2 weeks of 4 free Quake
   projects being announced on SourceForge, they had all consolidated).

   Open Source is not easy, but it's getting easier.  The problems are
   similar to managing any large group of programmers on projects.
   Managing resources and the communication.  However, things like
   Source Forge are making the job much easier.  Many companies are
   hiring VA Linux to come in and implement an internal Source Forge
   for their company.

   The key to Open Source is: Participate.  Larry gave an example of
   a customer tracking package which often costs millions of dollars.
   VA Linux spend a hundred thousand dollars on getting an Open Source
   project going to build one.  They have something they can use.
   Ideally now, other companies will contribute similar resources into
   adding to this project, which will advance it that much further.

We huddled and geeked some more.  Kevin mentioned to ESR a natural follow-on
to his kernel configurator project: a firewall configurator.  Eric's eyes
lit up.  Look for it soon.  :-)

Tomorrow is the first real day of the show.  It starts at 10am (contrary
to the literature saying it'll start at noon).  However, we've got a date
from 10 to noon with Eric and some automatic weapons.  Look for the
 "Ayn Rand books and guns...  You guys take World Domination seriously."
 "It's our job."  -- Conversation with Luke Jones about Rob Riggs place.
Sean Reifschneider, Inimitably Superfluous <jafo@tummy.com>
tummy.com - Linux Consulting since 1995. Qmail, KRUD, Firewalls, Python

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