Ohio LinuxFest 2011: Another Fun Adventure
The weekend of September 9th, 2011 marked my third year in attendance at the Ohio LinuxFest (OLF). My friend, Amir, and I arrived in Columbus right around 8 PM that Friday night, and after getting our belongings put away at the Drury hotel, we decided to check out the “20th birthday of the Linux kernel” celebration at the Hyatt hotel. We didn't really know all that many people there, but minutes after arriving, we got chatted up by some people, and I was naturally asked about Haiku right away due to me wearing a Haiku shirt. There were a couple more conversations like this with some other people we met, which was great, as I got to show those individuals Haiku in action the very next day. I also got to talk to some people I knew from Pittsburgh, like klaatu, as well as my friend Vance from our Linux Users’ Group, WPLUG. Seeing as I still didn't have my Haiku demonstration machines set up the way I wanted them, Amir and I decided to head back to the hotel shortly later around 9 PM. On the way out, I saw Beth Lynn Eicher (Director of OLF and former Chair of WPULG) wearing her red fedora and I made sure to say hello, not only because she has always been supportive of Haiku and its presence at OLF, but because she has been a good friend over the years.
Back at the hotel I worked on getting the demo machines ready. Initially my plan was to run Haiku natively on my Lenovo Thinkpad X61 and then run Haiku in VirtualBox via Linux Mint 11 on my Lenovo Thinkpad X120e in order to show off the Guest Additions that were done as part of Google Summer of Code 2011 by Mike Smith. I did get that running just fine, except Haiku was running on it quite slowly in virtualization, given that the X120e isn't exactly a powerhouse machine. I decided to scrap showing the VirtualBox Guest Additions on the X120e, and instead just ran Haiku off of a nano USB drive that I had imaged earlier that day. I set up both Haiku machines to basically have the same setup, where we could show off multimedia performance and Haiku-specific strengths. Assuming I have both machines around next year, I'll likely try a different configuration, where I'll run Haiku natively from the X120e and run it virtualized on the X61.
After being satisfied that the Haiku machines were ready, I finally ended up getting to sleep around 3:15 AM. My alarm went off a couple of hours later, and after getting my shower, I headed off to the Columbus Convention Center. I got the Haiku table set up relatively quickly and awaited attendees to stop by to visit the table. Before things were too far along, a gentleman who was doing security at the event stopped by and told me how he used Haiku on his older machine, and that he loved it. That was great to hear, and I figured it was always good to be on good terms with one of the individuals running security. Rob Ball (Sponsorship Chair) of OLF stopped by early on as well, and made sure that we had electricity and all of our other needs addressed. Right after he left, Beth Lynn Eicher stopped by and we talked a bit, which was cool as I didn't get to talk to her much the night before.
The action on the floor was similar to other years, although initially I was on my own. Mike was running late, although that was fine, seeing as we often take turns running the table anyway when the other needs a break. Some time after working the table in the morning, Darkwyrm showed up and said hello. Although he wasn't formally working the table this year, he chimed in and shared knowledge with conference-goers, as well as demonstrated some abilities of Haiku with them. It was great to see him, and I hope next year he can work the table with Mike and I like we had in previous years. During that visit and subsequent ones he made, we made sure to joke to visitors at the table that he looked a lot like the guy on the back of the Learning to Program with Haiku book that I had strategically placed on the table. :)
There were plenty of new faces this year at the conference, as well as many familiar ones. For instance, Matt Nawrocki showed up, and we talked Haiku and other topics for quite a bit. Other than seeing people that I knew, it was great to introduce Haiku to people that were not familiar with it at all. One of the simpler effects that gets a lot of attention is quickly changing between Workspaces that all have different backgrounds and applications running. Depending on the interest of the person, I'll show off things like the Stack and Tile decorator, live queries, replicants, and native Haiku applications like Clockwerk, Paladin, and WebPositive. I also like to show that Haiku is quite responsive even when I have the CPU maxed out running a multitude of applications.
All in all, it was a great day that flew by far too quickly. We went through all of the Release 1 Alpha 3 CDs I had burned within the first couple of hours of the event, and we also went through all of our stickers as well. I didn't get to check out any talks at the event since I spent most of my time at the table, but I do get a lot of enjoyment from interacting with attendees, so that was fine with me. That said, I think in a future year we should probably at the very least find a means of doing a Haiku Birds of Feather talk, or if not, perhaps an official talk about Haiku. Having a talk like that will lead to a lot more interaction and education with attendees interested in our project than could be provided by visitors to our table alone.
I really do look forward to attending OLF 2012, as I'm excited for the future of Haiku and what new things we'll get to show off next year. As mentioned earlier, the theme of this year's Ohio LinuxFest was the celebration of the 20th birthday of the Linux kernel. Seeing as Haiku celebrated its 10th birthday recently, I am really curious to see where Haiku will be on its 20th birthday compared to the ground that Linux has laid in the same amount of time. I think the Haiku project will be well on its way by then and likely be used on a much more mainstream basis than it is now. Heck, maybe the topic for OLF 2021 will be, “the 20th birthday of the operating system known as Haiku”. :)
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