2006-09-15

Linux 15th anniversary conference - September 4th 2006, Helsinki, Suomi

I meant to blog something about this for the last 2 weeks but other things had precedence. Anyhow, before this becomes hopelessly outdated, I decided to simply paste my notes verbatim, as a bulleted list. Here they are:

  • Lots of Ubuntu stickers visible on laptops!

liw: how did it all start?

  • Main areas of progress have been documentation and user applications, then distributions.
  • Installation improved from manual boot sector hacking to full GUI tool.
  • Linus purposely avoids working for distributors to preserve his neutrality.
  • Major kernel developments took place between 1992-1994 i.e. ports to m68k, alpha, powerpc.
  • Acknowledgement of RMS and ESR contributions to the Free Software agenda.

Maddog: changing, ruling and saving the world.

  • While at Drexel university, a teacher told him "No one will ever make a living writing software". Nowadays, the comment is rephrased about free software.
  • Parallel with 15-year olds that code amazing stuff being used for special effects, medical research, forensics, etc.
  • Parallel with what a 15-year old can learn from previous generations, from own early mistakes, from siblings, from dealing with bullying, etc.
  • In some countries, 15 is the age of consent or passage to adulthood.
  • Creative Commons embodies a society that enables read-write interaction.
  • Linux is already outselling Apple on the desktop.
  • Linux is shipping on over 1/3 of new servers.
  • The thin client market is completely Linux-based.
  • Social Networking and Peer Mentoring foster a creation of acceptance.
  • Malaysia's Computer Science graduates are 70% women and, surprise, it is a Muslim country.
  • Free Software enables localization for niche markets; this is a software freedom.
  • A shoe manufacturer that Maddog met on a plane had a domino Windows license upgrading effect that made him miss a whole production cycle. No longer supported Windows versions had to be replaced with new computers ...On which their custom software did not work anymore, while they worked fine on older Windows releases offering a DOS shell. He wanted to know how he could switch to Free Software and finally rid himself from slavery to Microsoft's licensing schemes that often impose costly hardware upgrades by turning previous hardware investments into unsupported obsoleteness.
  • Driving new standards are: FSG, ODF.
  • Generating local jobs adapting Free Software for local needs. The same cannot happen with closed-source software, because we're stuck with the vendor's limited offering.
  • Showing examples of excellent source code is the best way to teach programming. This is easily done with Free Software; not so with closed-source software.
  • The key to Free Software: have fun!
  • Remember: Software Freedom Day

This was followed by presentations from local Finnish players in the Free Software field. One point of interest: Timo Jyrinki, who is the founder of the Finnish Ubuntu community, emphasized that contributing to Ubuntu really meant contributing to Debian.

Videos are available (in Finnish, except for Maddog's presentation) on the server of the University of Helsinki. Sadly, the media format used is non-free... *sigh* When will they ever learn?

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