After Systems, I spent a couple of days with my parents in Frankfurt and seized the opportunity to visit Linux World Expo last Tuesday and Wednesday. I was rather late on Tuesday and arrived at the Messe around 4:30 PM. The Debian booth was quite bigger than the one at Systems and professionally setup by Jörg Jaspert and Alexander Schmehl with our shiny merchandise display cylinder and a couple of impressive workstations (including one from Sun) as well as a small FAI part. The booth was manned by enough people, so I decided to have a stroll over the expo area, after greeting Chris Halls and Jesus Climent, who I was delighted to see again. IBM, Sun, HP and Novell (again, no GNOME desktops could be seen) had big booths, SAP and RedHat somewhat smaller ones.
I had a long and nice discussion with the two people from the C&L booth (the printing house which provided our booth at Systems), and they said that Systems seems to be interested in having a much bigger FLOSS area for next year, hopefully including the GNOME, Mozilla, Apache projects besides many others. This year, the FLOSS area was a bit hurried, but hopefully it will bigger, better and more shiny next year.
I also had some chats with a guy from IBM and another guy from Univention about commercial Debian support, which seems to be getting better and better in Germany. The Univention people seem to be able to power large installations. Of course, the IBM guy said they are not going to advertise Debian support, but the general rule these days seems to be: "If customers ask for Debian, we do support".
After the expo has ended we had dinner in an Indian restaurant. Michael Meskes, Jörg Jaspert Alexander Schmehl, Chris Halls, Thomas Lange and a couple of others were present and it the food was very good (albeit too much and quite expensive). Michael and Chris also took this dinner as an occasion to celebrate the start of their UK branch, Credativ ltd. Afterwards everybody left, so I decided to go home as well and had an interesting disussion about Ubuntu, Canonical and Debian with Chris while waiting for the train.
On Wednesday, I was unfortunately very late for Mark Shuttleworth's keynote. I only managed to listen to last five minutes and the Q&A part. However, probably knowing much of the content already, I wanted to attend the keynote mostly to see Mark speak anyway, which I was able to evaluate at least roughly during that time. Mark is a very charismatic speaker who seems to be well experienced in delivering talks. Also, the Q&A session was very enlightening by the way in which he answered, even though not so many questions were asked. After the talk, I had a chat with the present Credativ guys (Andreas Müller (amu), Michael Meskes and Chris Halls) and then went to lunch together with them and Mark in a nearby Pizzeria. Mark is really an interesting guy with a strong vision and nice humour and I can now understand why people would follow him and work with him so well.
Back at the expo, I bumped into Frauke Lehman, a socialogist from Berlin. She wanted to ask a couple of questions about the Debian project and as I was the first one around at the booth, we started a conversation. I think we talked for over an hour; about Debian history (mainly how the current organizational structure came into place), internal Debian mechanisms and communication channels and random other stuff. A very intersting conversation overall.
I needed to get back to Munich later that day, so I had to leave Linux World Expo at around 4:30 PM already. Still, it was a pretty intense event compared to one week of just hanging around the Debian booth at Systems, telling people what Debian is about. I had enough expos for a while now, though.