30 Jul 2001 cmacd   » (Journeyer)

OLS

Waaah, Mommy its over!

Actually, I have been building a few thoughts after OLS, and I think that their may be a bit of insight that comes from some of the things that I saw and observered over the last week.

zeevon I was amused to see from one of your entries that you actually attended the same group of talks that I was at on that day, and yet I have no idea concerning what you look like. Thinking of that had me come to a general conclusion, that was reenforeced by other entries that I saw while at OLS.

For example dyork says: One of the developers, who had been at the office all day says, "Hey, Dan, I heard your talk went great." I ask how he had heard that. He says, "Oh, I was chatting on IRC with people in the audience while you were speaking!" Sheesh... welcome to the world of the wireless LAN! :-)

I got thinking about one of ottawaDave's entries from last week. - He says that The people who make this sub-culture are people that really like communicating, reading and writing, with the written word.

I looked around while I was using the telephone just outside room C at OLS and I saw a large room filed with folks all sitting down with laptop computers all connected to the wireless LAN, all busily typing away. The major sound in the room was in fact the clattering of keyboards, rather than the hubbub of conversation.

When I mentioned that observation to my wife, she was at first taken aback, because one of the traditional meanings of a conference is as a gathering where folks can interact face to face and share ideas. At OLS I was seeing a virtual conference, that happened to have a large number of people gathered in one room.

Walking by the couches in the room, one could catch a glimpse of laptop screen, which generaly had 4 white on black text windows, with at least one of them scrolling franticaly. Beween my respect for privacy and the fact that my eyes are not as good as they used to be, I did not determine the contents of those screens, but the image came back to me at Teds Keynote talk.

Ted did a history of Linux, and explained how close we are, and yet how far from the goal of "World Domination". His talk featured many places where our systems have ugly edges that we have overlooked in our quest to fix the major bugs. His sugestion to the audiance was to work with non-techies to reach a point where you could unleash your applications on your grandparents, and expect them to be able to figure out how to use them.

Of course when he said that, the image of all those laptops with the DOS style text windows flashed back to my mind, I would not be happy working that way, many of the folks I know would consider that sort of interface "Quaint" to say the least.

My summary of the symposium is that we are very close to having a product that can take on the world, Much closer than we were last year. On the other hand last year we were not in the guns of M$, this year we have a lot of technological cannons, starting with HailStorm aiming at us.

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