This week, LinuxCon hit Seattle, WA, and it was a truly excellent show.
Then again, I always have a good time at Linux conferences. Whether they be the more community-driven events like the Southern California Linux Expo and LinuxFest Northwest or the more company-run expos like SUSECon and LinuxCon, these moments give me an opportunity to, quite simply, be around Linux nerds. Lots and lots of Linux nerds. These are my people.
Before I continue, I need reiterate myself: LinuxCon 2015 in Seattle was abso-fricking-lutely fantastic. Nothing I am about to say should take away from that fact.
But I couldn't help notice something that I'm simply not sure how I feel about...
There was an almost complete lack of anything “consumer-y” in all of LinuxCon 2015. Cellphones. Tablets. Watches... even laptops. Gadgets of all kinds were conspicuously absent from LinuxCon.
At last week’s LinuxCon 2015, the keynote line-up (while absolutely excellent) – including some stellar keynotes on security, containers, servers and even a little anthropology – was about as “gadget-free” as you can get.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against servers and the like. Nothing at all. Heck, I love hearing about mainframes and supercomputers (which are almost always Linux-powered). If I went to a Linux conference, of any kind, and didn't hear at least a little bit about what was happening in the server space, I would be a tad bummed and bewildered. Linux is, after all, king of the servers.
But, like Linux, I'm not all about servers. When I go home, all of my computers are powered by Linux (in one form or another). My game console and mobile devices are all Linux-based, as well. So when I go to a “Linux” event – my brain is primed to see news, booths, keynotes, or sessions that deal with at least some of those areas of my Linux-powered life.
After a few days of attending keynotes, if I don't see or hear anything about those “gadget-y” or “consumer-y” Linux things while browsing booths and talking with attendees... it starts to feel... strange. Like there's something missing. Something that you can't immediately put your finger on.
Sort of like Garfield without Garfield. Only not at all. In fact, forget I made that comparison. In fact, forget this entire paragraph.
Again, I can't stress this enough, none of this makes LinuxCon... bad. Not in the slightest. I had a great time, learned a ton, and truly enjoyed the chance to hang out with so many friends and colleagues that I only get to see at such events.
What I am saying is this: All you companies and organizations that are building Linux-powered devices and platforms for consumers to use, get to these events. Contact the organizers and have them put you on stage. If nothing else, do it for me. Because I like gadgets.