13 Jul 2004 mbanck   » (Journeyer)

LinuxTag was a blast. I went there on Wednesday afternoon, quickly walked over the expo, noticed that no GNOME desktop was being displayed at the Novell/SuSE booth and that the Gentoo booth was sort of at the end of the world. I had the expression that the overall expo area had grown since last year, it always took me quite some time to find my way back to the Debian booth. Unfortunately, the hacking area this year was pretty, uhm, limited. On the other hand, the Debian booth was very nice this year. Highlight was a very slick 2m height case where all the merchandise was displayed. The whole booth was very well done as well and looked more professional than last year. Time was quite advanced, so I desperately tried to find somebody to watch the football game (Germany versus Czech Republic) with. Most of the Debian crowd did not seem to be particulary interested, so I decided to stick with the Credativ guys like Noel, Andreas and Michael. However, we walked across half the town looking for some greek restaurant, only to find out it was the wrong one. We finally settled for an italian restaurant just next to the LinuxTag area where I watched the first half of the game. I could not watch the second half though, as I promised to fetch our fearless leader from the Ryanair airport. When we came to the AKK (the gym hall we all slept at), we had a beer and I worked on my talk until around 3 AM. With some guys snoring, I had a hard time falling asleep and I woke up again around 7 AM when the first over-motivated people decided it was time to get ready for another day LinuxTag, sigh.

My talk on Thursday about the Debian GNU/Hurd port went okayish. I delivered it in german, which perhaps blocked me a bit as I had to translate a couple of terms on the fly and had the feeling of repeating myself without need a couple of times. However, interest was pretty high and there were quite a couple of questions, which encouraged me. Unfortunately, magicpoint did not want to run on my Debian GNU/Hurd installation this year and I did not have enough time to debug it, so I had to give the talk on GNU/Linux. After my talk I relaxed a bit and walked around the area. I missed the demonstration against software patents, Martin and me had lunch and went shopping in the city center. In the evening, the famous KaLUG party took place. I have to admit that I liked the setup last year better, at some distance to the AKK, where people sat down in the grass. Instead, the location was right next to the AKK this year, in the same place we used to hang out each night and morning. The people were quite cool though, I had some discussions with Martin, Frank and some others about the general way Debian is heading. I wisely drank a couple of beers this time, so I had less problems falling asleep than the night before.

On Friday I first attended Wolfgang's talk about GNU/Hurd and later Ian Murdock's keynote. I spent the rest of the day hanging around at the front or behind the back of the Debian booth, checking how Huedi, Flo and the others were doing at the hacking contest walking around LinuxTag with Martin and talking to Wolfgang at the FSFEurope booth. I also met Murray Cumming for the first time ever at the GNOME booth (which was right next to the Gentoo booth, I overlooked it on Wednesday) and had a nice conversation with him. He lives very close to me in Munich, so I thought it was funny to meet him at Karlsruhe. Luckily, I could convince Martin to take the Bus back to the airport, so I could attend the social event, which rocked big time this year. Dogi finally arrived while we were waiting for the bus to bring us to the social event location, a lido just outside of Karlsruhe. Apparently, we were lucky to be on one of the first buses, as we did not have to queue up insane amounts of time to get food at the (wonderful) buffet, compared to the people who arrived late. I hang around with the tyrolian Debian section, including Peter, Dogi and Huedi. Later on, I had a long discussion with Andreas about various topics including Gnoppix, and I watched the game France versus Greece together with the others (Funnily enough, I noted later on that the notebook which did the TV presentation was powered by WindowsXP). Some time later on, I bumped into Chris Halls, and we talked a bit about what he's doing in real life and for Debian. I always found it very impressive that he and Rene seem to manage the whole OpenOffice.org stuff in Debian mostly on their own. When I came back to the AKK, I found out that Dogi and the others were still outside, so we emptied the bottle of Bacardi I brought with me, blended with Dogi's orange juice. Florian Lohoff joined us, and told us a couple of hilarious stories on his own, so this was a great night. I guess I was pretty drunk at that point, because I even managed to sleep until close to 9 AM the next morning.

On Saturday I mainly listened to the 'hacking OpenOffice.org' talk by Michael Meeks and partly followed the talk by Georg Greve. I already listened to him last year, so I decided to move on after a couple of minutes (although he is a very inspiring speaker, much more so than RMS in my opinion). In the afternoon, I spent a while talking with Dogi in the beautiful park just outside of the expo area and then walked around the expo for a last time, before I attended the keysigning party However, I have not signed the keys from last years' LinuxTag, but I hope to do better this year. Later on, I discovered very much by accident that Christoph Lameter gave a talk about the performance of embedded systems and I took the oppurtunity to talk to him afterwards and tried to get his opinion on the situation of embedded systems in Debian. While I think that the modularity of the new Debian-Installer and the mainstream advent of Custom Debian Distributions should make for much easier handling of embedded issues, Christoph was not very interested in embedded systems inside of Debian. Rather, he seemed to believe in just sticking a full blown Debian installation on an embedded system (if the resources permit), or otherwise cross-compile something and copy it over. Anyway, I had a nice talk with him and showed him around the Debian booth a bit.

As a summary, I can say LinuxTag was again a nice experience. I only manned the booth for short while this year (as there was not enough space to display and promote the Debian GNU/Hurd port, unfortunately) and rather walked around and talked to people. I met a lot of old friends again and a couple of fine new people, and it is a pity that some others did not show up (mostly mako and Marcus). And of course Joey was too busy for conversation again this year.

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