You are here

The Summit

I know I promised on-going blogs on the Linux Collaboration Summit, but I failed. From previous experience I knew not to count on reliable Internet access at the conference site; I was planning to just post the blogs I had written during the day when I returned to the hotel. What I didn't count on was the conference rooms would have less electrical outlets then your average dorm room. We blamed the nearby super-computer for taking all our power. The important point is that the battery life on my laptop is about 15 minutes. So I was put in the ironic situation of going to a technology conference, but having access to very little technology. I did have a digital camera though.

From the whole conference there was a real sense of "hey stuff is actually coming together." Not that this will be the year of the Linux Desktop, but that Linux is positioning itself well as the solution for devices that go beyond the desktop. Like the lowcost Asus EeePC is a whole product category that Linux makes possible. The most interesting session on Tuesday was the Mobile roundtable, since there are several competing stacks: Intel has one based on GTK, LiMo has a variation of that, and then Google is building one from scratch (Qtopia was unrepresented). So in the same way you knew IBM was going to win-big with the now current generation of video games consoles (PS3, X-Box 360 and Wii), Linux is going to do well on the smartphone.

The Desktop Architects Meeting was informative, but I hope future meetings will feature more break-out sessions and actual action plans. Kevin mentioned that in DAM-3 they did something like this. The DAM has people from users to distros to upstream desktop developers. We all have a lot to learn from each other, but also different things that need to be worked out. For instance I had hoped for more work with Gnome developers.

An irony is that due to the LCS I'm probably going to give OpenSolaris a serious try. Brian Cameron from Gnome and Sun made a compelling case for their set of development tools when we were talking at the IBM reception. Basically it sounds like you can run a tool like Valgrind (dtrace?) that doesn't make the app your debugging run a magnitude slower.

The Firefox representative made a reference to this, he said that OS X is the best tool for Linux development. He was also concerned that Linux distros turn off their system for counting users, which is apparently part of their update system. Well obviously distros are going to want to turn off an update system, I wonder if Firefox even tried having a counting system separate from update? It would be in Linux's interest to have our Firefox's be counted so that Firefox knows how many Linux users there are. I asked him if they would join the growing ranks of Open Source projects with time-based releases, he more or less flatly said no. Of course that's what most of the crowd at aKademy said when Shuttleworth made the same suggestion, and look at us now. :-)

The most useful parts of the Summit were making contacts with people from throughout the industry: some exciting stuff that's probably too early to talk about.