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Penguins Like Salmon, Too

Springtime Brings New Community Events

  • May 10, 2004
  • By Dee-Ann LeBlanc

On a sunny Saturday in Bellingham, Washington, Linuxfest Northwest, estimates have up to one thousand Linux curious and enthusiasts alike gathered to talk Tux. Bellingham Technical College provided an ideal atmosphere, with high tech classrooms already set up for laptop-powered presentations, not to mention the feeling of a catered lunch since the college's award-winning Cook's Club prepared a barbecued salmon fundraising feast.

The coordinated effort of over six Linux User Groups (LUGs) on both sides of the US/Canada border, the second annual Linuxfest Northwest remains a single day event, though it's not hard to imagine it expanding in the near future.

Six sessions of eleven parallel talks filled the day with topics ranging from open source-related legislation in Oregon to Rasmus Lerdof, the creator of the popular PHP scripting language, sharing an array of PHP tricks with a packed room that had even advanced PHP users happily taking notes.

A notable observation is that for every presentation I watched or peeked into, the speaker used Linux on their laptop, with everyone having their own favorite distributions or combinations thereof (such as Ximian Desktop 2 on top of something).

There were also strong signs of life in the exhibitors' and vendors' room. User groups (Linux, Python, and more), hardware vendors, "stuff" vendors (Tux boxers, books, and energy drinks were all represented), ISPs, training companies, distributions (including one of the BSDs), and more experienced steady streams of traffic throughout the day.

Young and old alike, business people and students, geeks and the just plain curious kept the energy levels high and the questions flying, helped perhaps by the sugar rush of the group outside selling Krispy Kremes (donuts with an incredibly sweet glaze, for those unfamiliar with this product) for yet another fundraiser.

In the talks themselves, there was plenty to learn, and most of the rooms were full--which at time was a problem, some of the talks could have used bigger rooms. I started the day there by nattering to a group of around forty people about bringing mainstream games to Linux. From there, I spent the rest of my time soaking up what I could from the other presenters. I'm happy to share what I learned here.

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