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Austin hosts the inaugural Linucon

By Joe Barr on October 07, 2004 (8:00:00 AM)

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Austin is playing host to a new con this week. It's a Linux con. It's a science fiction con. It's Linucon. The show is a sister show to Penguincon, held in Michigan. It is the result of a grass-roots organizing effort by Rob Landley and Stu Green, two longtime members of Austin's Linux scene.

Headliners from both the Linux world and the fantasy world will be participating: Eric S. Raymond, Peter Salus, Eric Flint, Steve Jackson (of Steve Jackson Games fame), and Wil Wheaton, to name a few.

In spite of the headliners, Linucon has all the makings for a good old-fashioned, community-based event rather than the suit-oriented, biztalking, marketing extravaganza that LinuxWorld Conference and Expo has become. In fact, it seems to be joining a growing number shows, whether they are pure Linux or hybrids like Linucon and Penguincon, which are community inspired and oriented. It's almost as if the Linux community is reaching out for its roots.

Just last week, for example, I saw Paul Ferris's name on a story recounting his keynote at Ohio LinuxFest 2004. In my book, Paul Ferris is Mister Community. Never mind that his one-time boss at a Linux news site scoffed at the very concept of there being any such thing as a "Linux community." It's like "Revenge of the Nerds" all over again.

That's not to say there won't be vendors at Linucon. As a matter of fact, it appears that all the dealer space is sold out. But with rates as low as $50 for half a table and only $180 for a twenty-foot table, it's not hard to see why.

The show kicks off Friday and runs non-stop -- literally -- through Sunday evening. Game rooms will be open 24 hours a day, with free Wi-Fi access to all, panels, speeches, presentations, and so on. It will very much take on the look and feel of a busy bazaar.

And speaking of the Bazaar, ESR will be involved throughout the con, from the opening ceremonies Friday afternoon to his traditional "Geeks with guns" on Saturday -- off site, of course -- to the banquet on Sunday afternoon. His wife Cathy will also be a part of the show. She's doing a number of panels, including one on the Linux desktop and one on intellectual property.

My personal favorite among the glitterati is Peter Salus, the unofficial historian of Unix who has been watching our long and winding path from the days at Bell Labs to the present. The first time I heard Peter Salus speak was at USENIX in 2001. He was being interviewed by Dr. Dobb's Journal, and he talked about the open source movement that existed in the early days of Unix. For latecomers like me, who didn't really become familiar with the dynamics of an open source environment until finding Linux in the mid-'90s, I liken Salus's personal history of those events as being like the oral tradition some civilizations use to pass their history from one generation to the next.

Pete Collins, the City of Austin CIO who has used the threat of Linux desktops in the city to negotiate better prices with Microsoft, will be part of a panel on Linux in Government. Stu Green and Rob Landley will also be presenting. And underscoring the community theme just once more, a Linux installfest will also be part of the show.

It should be a great time if you're interested in Linux, anime, game playing, or science fiction. Stop by the Red Lion Inn and join in if you happen to be in Austin over the weekend.

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on Austin hosts the inaugural Linucon

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Better names?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 08, 2004 12:15 AM
A combination of Linux and Science Fiction called Linucon? What about calling it Liniction instead? Or even Sci-Liniction (though someone hearing that spoken might wonder what a "silent ick-tion" might be).

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It's Wil

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 08, 2004 12:52 AM
Wil Wheaton, not Will Wheaton.

See ya there Joe. Don't know if I'll be at the panel discussion you're in or not. It's certainly going to be one long weekend and there's a *lot* I need to clone myself for<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-/.

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Re:It's Wil

Posted by: Joe Barr on October 08, 2004 01:59 AM
Thanks for the correction on Wil. I've changed the text. I dunno if I'll be there for the panel or not either, it's chancey at the moment.

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The name is fine.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 08, 2004 02:55 AM
Because it's a CON. SF conventions are called cons, and, traditionally, names typically (but not always) have "Con" in them somewhere. Some of them, like MarCon, ICon, BuboniCon, NoreasCon, ApolloCon, and so forth have "con" at the end. Other cons begin with "con" like Contretemps, Confusion, Consortium, and Context.

I'm not sure how well this Linux-specific con will work. While there is some crossover between fandom and free software, many people who are insterested in Linux don't have a clue what fandom is, and fen aren't necessarily Linux-savvy or even Linux-aware. Anyway, I wanted to go to Linucon when I heard about it at ConDFW in Dallas this February, but I'm not able to. However, a number of my associates are going, so I expect to hear all about it next week.

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Spelling

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on October 14, 2004 01:37 AM
To the author: you got the link right, but it's spelled <A HREF="http://www.penguicon.org/" title="penguicon.org">Penguicon</a penguicon.org> not, "Penguincon"


                  - Penguicon.org's Webmaster.

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