Wednesday, August 31, 2011

LinuxTage 2011: looking back

Sorry about this post being quite belated, but I have been wanting to make this post for quite a while. This last May (11-14th) I attended LinuxTage in Berlin where it is hosted every year. It was my first time at the event and many of my hacker colleagues gave me mixes feelings about the event before I attended. There complaints with the event were that over the years that it has become more corporate oriented and that community presence has been less regarded over corporate interest when arranging and planning for community presence (booths, etc.).

I always try to keep and open mind when attending an event i which I have never been to before, so I arrived at the event on the 11th with a business colleague of mine to introduce him to the world of FOSS to see his thoughts on it, but more to try and give him a picture of what I have been investing a lot of my time into over the past 3 years. He, like many others, rarely see the point of FOSS and the meaning behind just having another operating system on your computer. As many others I have spoken to over the years, he had a hard time understanding why he should give FOSS a try when he had no problems with using Windows. My strategy was to just introduce him to the ecosystem and let him make his own assumptions on what he saw and then provide answers and support to the questions he had.

As we entered the exhibition hall, the first time, he was reluctant from the beginning and THEN he saw names of projects he was familiar with which he did not know stemmed from our ecosystem. Projects he used on windows, such as VLC, XMBC, to name a few. He then shifted his opinion to being a little less reluctant and began to open his mind a little more to this FOSS thing. We split up for a while, as I told him to get involved, ask questions, and just look around! In the meantime, I visited my old colleagues at the Fedora Project and CentOS to see how they are doing. Furthermore, I had a good talk with the Debian project about their plans, future development, and got all of of my questions answered in a nice informed way about the CUT/Rolling release initiative. In final, as always, I also had a chance to chat with some community managers and discuss some issues facing our communities and ecosystem and how we can improve cross-community collaboration.

Overall it was quite a decent event, I met some new people, got up to speed with the old and planted a seed in someones mind of what opportunities and tools FOSS can give the average individual and business person, but I will have to agree with my hacker colleagues, it was a little to corporate and presented itself as more of a hybrid event rather than a community one. Berlin, in itself is awesome, one of my favorite cities in the world, since there are just not too many places like it ;-) C-Base is also one of a kind hacker meeting place/lab which definitely demonstrates the unique qualities of this city and the local FOSS community in Berlin. Oh, and not to forget, my business colleague left with a greater understanding of our ecosystem and a smile on his face, so I think that speaks for itself ;-) Will be seeing you again shortly, Berlin, that I can guarantee!!

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