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At the LinuxWorld Expo

This morning was kicked off with a visit to Sears's café off Union Square. These guys are supposedly famous for their pancakes, but, drenched in maple syrup, it tasted just like all the other pancakes served in the US!

We interviewed Eben Moglen this morning, and had a great time. Eben is such a great guy - from the minute he smiles at you as you shake his hand he just exudes friendship as if it leaks from his very pores. I have a lot of respect for his work and his achievements, and we talked for 45 minutes or so about the GPLv3, why the GNU FDL got rejected by Debian as non-free, and the free software law firm he founded.

One quote from Eben stood out particularly: "I think there are a large number of businesses, very large, very shrewd businesses around the world, that have realised that software is forestry - that you've got to protect the natural environment in which you work." Smart man.

Eben Moglen has the most infectious laugh around

From there Joby and I had two hours or so to wander around the expo. Unlike LinuxWorld UK, LinuxWorld San Francisco is a huge affair to which everyone who is anyone turns up - at least if they care about business. We managed to get about half way around the expo in two hours, before rushing off to a press conference with Addison-Wesley/Prentice Hall to hear Bruce Perens speak.

I had already interviewed Bruce and heard him speak once already, but he never runs out of interesting things to talk about - this time he mentioned how some of the guys behind the company he just joined, SourceLabs, used to work for Microsoft. He asked them whether it bothered them, and they said "we're looking forward, not back."

Bruce Perens, deep in thought

With two more hours to kill we were back at the expo - just in time to see Black Dog start up their mechanical bull to throw geeks around the ring. That was fun, but I was seriously impressed by the product they were demonstrating: it's a Linux server that's about the size of a pack of cards, wholly powered through USB. It comes with flash memory onboard, but has an MMC slot for extra storage. Damn, I want one!

Get spun around on the bull, then get blinded by camera flash - what fun!

Apart from that it was more conferencing, more business card exchanging, more reading brochures about products I've never heard of, and more people in weird costumes...

Having run out of money, Batman and Wonder Woman now work for BakBone

One thing that you can't miss was the fact that several companies were running "wear our hat/t-shirt/badge/logo" and you might win a PSP/an iPod/much derision from your friends. SUSE was advertising OpenSUSE with green baseball caps, but not everyone looked pleased...

Sick of the complaints about YAST, SUSE turns its hands to making hats instead

I wandered around the .org village when I had some time to spare. I picked up the new Debian t-shirts, a new NetBSD t-shirt, and a Fedora t-shirt, however what surprised me was that I renewed my membership in the EFF - but only because I wanted the t-shirt! Maybe I'm getting old or something. Still, when I refused to fill out the EFF membership form (I haven't the patience for handwriting right now), the EFF guy said, quite truly, "we're about the only booth in this show that won't mind if you want to be anonymous." Nice t-shirt too. I might renew my Friend of Gnome sponsorship tomorrow, but it's another $50, and the mug I got last year is already broken. Still, it's another t-shirt...

At 3:30 we met with Jeremy Allison and talked about his move from HP to Novell, what's going on with Samba 4, and why he'd like to try moving Samba off Subversion into a distributed development system like Bazaar.

Jeremy Allison with a big grin

In the evening we went back to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. The cheesecake was, of course, excellent, but the rest blew us away - for maybe £20 a head at most you can get some really first-class food there, and we were really sad not to be able to finish it all!

Joby sent me over a nice Chris DiBona picture he took yesterday, so here it is for your viewing pleasure...

Chatting with Chris DiBona in Yerba Buena Gardens


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