Ohio Linux Fest... What a Ride!
Well, for not having been doing hardly anything Haiku-related in the last month or so, this kind of made up for it. It all started with almost not getting a table at the conference and then on Wednesday–if I remember correctly, that is– suddenly having one by the power of Greyskull, um, I mean Koki. ;-) This meant a flurry of e-mails, burning what remaining CDRs I had around the house, quickly putting together a Haiku demo machine, and a host of other details.
I arrived at the Greater Columbus Convention Center at about 7:15 am to set up and was quickly met by Michael Summers, whom I've known since the first WalterCon years ago, and Joe Prostko. We had been concerned about not having a projector, particularly on such short notice, but as we found out, it wasn't really necessary. We had a six-foot table, Joe's MSI Wind netbook, my Thinkpad R40 laptop, some live CDs, a bunch of fliers Urias had sent us, a couple of chairs, and some great neighbors in the non-profit section: the Northeast Ohio Open Source Society (NOOSS) and The Linux Link Tech Show (TLLTS). Setting up didn't take long, and even at that early hour there were already a lot of people there besides the sponsors.
I'd never gone to a computer convention like Ohio Linux Fest before, so I wasn't completely sure of what to expect. It wasn't all that different from some teacher conventions that I'd attended early in my teaching career. The big difference was that I could talk about my favorite operating system with the people around me and they'd actually understand me. :)
To be honest, I wasn't really expecting the kind of foot traffic that we received during the day. The table was in a great location and I can't even remember the number of people that I talked to during the day, let alone Joe and Mike. The live CDs that Joe and I had made didn't last long at all and despite starting with plenty of fliers, after about four hours I ended up running to Kinko's to make some copies of our last one.
After reading about others’ experiences at similar events, I thought it was going to be a long day. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The whole day was a blur of talking with great people. It goes to show you that time really flies by when you're having fun.
Having been through my first convention, I'd like to share some of the insights I've gained. First, this is a really exciting time for Haiku. It runs circles around the competition in terms of the feature set in combination with its ease-of-use, low hardware requirements, and performance that it offers. On a machine like a netbook, there is no comparison. The small storage footprint and ease of configuration give Haiku potential for a sort of OS toolkit, similar to how Linux is used as a base for tools, such as CloneZilla. The demand for something like our favorite OS is there. All we really need is critical mass.
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