Having missed OLF last year, I was determined to make the 3.5hr drive to Columbus, OH this year.
Though I arrived much later than desired, I enjoyed the following talks.
- Fedora, OLPC Lessons Learned and Where Do We Go From Here - David Nalley
- Open Source Telephony in an Economic Downturn - John Todd
It was interesting to learn the perspective of the value of OLPC some 5yrs after the project was realized. Nalley addressed a range of questions that touched upon XO deployment, global politics, education, and the problems created by Negroponte's choice of accepting the prospect of using M$ XP on the XO. Some people from the audience were disappointed in the dearth of XO availability in the US. The pervasive argument is that we have developing "villages" on US shores. What about our own children?
The G1G1 program is an on again off again program which does provide a means to get your hands on the neat XO hardware. Of course, the main crux is delivering these machines to developing nations. IMHO the entire netbook market was spawned by the OLPC project. Obviously, this was not Negroponte's intent. Nonetheless, OLPC has leveraged free software and also raised the ante in the computer manufacturing sector. OEMs must now begin to rethink their software design principles and of course deal with slumping sales which have led to razor thin profit margins.
I got an opportunity to meet John Todd, Digium Community Leader. It was fun giving him a hard time about his running OSX at a Linux Conference :-) Somehow we got into mobile handsets and I then learned that he had a compliment of 4 or 5 handsets. That deserves a wow. His talk was quite appropriate since we are in the midsts of one of the worst economic downturns of record. I particularly appreciated how he explained how Asterisk and other free software could provide economic freedoms not recognized by using proprietary software.
The stick figures he used in his presentation were also popular with the crowd.
Lastly, the keynote was especially satisfying, as it capped the entire, "Celebration of 40yrs of Unix" theme for OLF 2009. Dr. Doug Mcilroy provided the audience with an excellent account of the virtues as well as the vices of the venerable Unix operating system. One particularly humorous highlight was the SSH reference. He noted that there were at least 64 different switches (CLI options) that could be used to solve various problems using SSH. Certainly a far cry from the small tools used to perform one job well, which incidently has been the mantra of Unix users for a number years. Yes, of course Unix is user friendly, it is just particular about the friends it keeps :-)
It was fun chatting with Dr. Mcilroy after his talk, he made many contributions to Unix while working at AT&T Bell Labs. I asked him about his role in the development of the '|' (pipe) command. He modestly stated that he did not invent it, but he was the muse for its invention. Quite cool indeed. Heh, perhaps I'll meet Kernighan and Ritchie one day too.
Though, I got to OLF later than desired, I really enjoyed meeting all of the TLLTS guys. Of course were great too. This was my second OLF experience. I do hope to attend many more.