Impressions from ALS

By Joe Barr, LinuxWorld.com |  Operating Systems

Not only did I get a chance to meet "Dr. Greg," but I got to listen to him and "maddog" reminisce about the early days of the Linux community. Later, I chatted with "maddog" again in the press room before a vendor he was meeting with arrived and swallowed him up.


ALS has a reputation for good parties; now I understand why. The double-decker bus ride to the Thursday night party at Dave and Buster's was exciting in itself, but more excitement was inside. I was nearly knocked down by a guy on his way to the free bar, and again by a geek on his way to the game room. I briefly shared a table with a college student from Singapore who hoped the game room had a Quake server. The Friday night party was a Friday the 13th and Halloween disco. I admit to being old enough to leave early, but not so early that I didn't see a lot of younger people having a great time.


I also had the good fortune to share the long cab ride to the airport with Dr. Peter Salus. Salus is many things, including chief knowledge officer of Matrix.Net, the company that produces those cool maps of the Internet. I've always been fascinated with his personal knowledge of the history of computing. If ALS were a gathering of tribes, Salus would be best described as the shaman in charge of our oral history. His tales of the beginnings of Unix, and the open source methodology that surrounded it, are fascinating. It was those chance meetings with Hall, Salus, Wettstein, and the young man from Singapore that I will most remember about my first ALS.


If I could have changed one thing, I would have postponed my departure until Sunday morning. Dr. Wettstein gave his talk (the most important talk of the show, he said) on Saturday evening. One of his current missions is to convince the Linux community of the importance of middleware and of becoming a strong player in that area. I missed the talk, but I have a copy of the proceedings. I am going to follow up with Wettstein in the next few weeks, and hopefully write a column about his views on and concerns about Linux and middleware.

Resources

  • Atlanta Linux Enthusiasts:

    http://www.ale.org
  • Usenix homepage:

    http://www.usenix.org
  • The Geekcorps:

    http://www.geekcorps.org
  • Borland's Kylix homepage:

    http://www.borland.com/kylix
  • Linux Central homepage:

    http://www.linuxcentral.com
  • Scyld Computing Corporation:

    http://www.scyld.com
  • Matrix.Net homepage:

    http://www.matrix.net
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