The Conference Fonzie is still at LinuxWorld, this time sending in his longest report yet. Like a North Atlantic iceberg, most of this one is under the horizon; hit the post title to see it all.
LinuxWorld, like a long impacted colon, is about to pass. Your bombastic ConFonz has seen many LinuxWorlds come and go, and none have had that breathy fresh air feeling that accompanies a clean colon. Until this year.
Picture the far corner of the show floor. The Slashdot lounge is filled with net-hungry crotch warriors, desperate for the only hardwired connections in the building. The airwaves here benefit only from Socialtext, the oh-my-god-they're-still-around company behind the first Bar Camp's venue. But thanks to the dozens of other networks, combined with the Nokia 770s and a handful of Ethereal enthusiasts, the wireless was unusable.
Let's do the math, here. (12 channels - 3 notused)/35 networks = Shitz!Bonerz!
Is the ConFonz off base in his rememberance of 802.11 arithmetic? To quote the Conference Fonzie's favorite show:
I fear the signals from the satelites may be crossing and interfering, canceling each other out. I would like to buy another cell phone.
And, a further nugget of wireless truth: Any access point labeled "Free Public Wireless" is a trap, sure to own yer Linux-box.
Despite the terror on the airwaves, the calm undertones of a confident floor-population was palpable. These people know they're on the winning team. They're confident. They're cocksure. But they're not brainwashed like Mac dorks.
These zealots have stopped saying that Linux will beat Windows. They've stopped envisioning a world of only penguins. Or at least, that's what they say. Ask a punk if he's really a punk and he'll blush. Ask a poseur if he's a punk and he'll shout "DAMN STRAIGHT!"
And these decidedly sweatier, uglier punks are looking for some hot press girl lovin'.
Picture that red dress and the high platform shoes. That sexy-as-hell stomping authority of the fresh-meat young pressling, pushing through the crowd, tottering against the weight of a half-her-size laptop bag. Krad koder kidz kome kqwik. She's the nerd-enthusiast. Smiling at the geeky kids and kissing the alpha-nerds behind the gym.
The cool kids (read: Mormons) are here, of course, hawking Geckos and light-up blue Moto keychains. But the once A/V/chess/computer geeks are the prime draw, and the main audience. They salivate over the new nerd girls, and they congregate in the corner by the Slashdot Lounge.
Deep within this tangled web of donated booth-space and overstuffed Slashdot/SourceForge beanbag chairs was the meaty nutpulp-center of the show: The Great Wooly Debianoid. Their time is spent almost exclusively in the service of the Gnu Debian Gnu Linux Gnu operating system. Not to be confused with the equally fearsome Speckled Gentootoo Beast, the Great Wooly Debianoid is readily identifiable by his oblique fatness and inscrutible sassy nature.
Fortunately for the female nerd-enthusiasts (not to be confused with the female-nerd-enthusiast) manning the EFF booth, they were protected from direct sight of the Great Wooly Debianei (note the plural) for most of the show by CmdrTaco and an army of t-shirt and headphone seekers answering trivia questions.
Here is the real LinuxWorld. These are the people that have come here to see and learn. Everyone else is here for work, and that work isn't really accomplishing much. Are they trying to sell things to these bearded goobers? Are they hoping to introduce Linux to these dottering old fools and little old ladies? Are they trying to show off the size of their kernels in the bathrooom?
And what are all these old people doing here, anyway? There's one or two in every aisle, looking around, completely mystified. Are these the conference lampreys of days gone-by? A visage of the ConFonz in his winter years? The species does exist in New York, but it's far more manipulative and calculated there: Old women register ahead of time as press, then arrive just in time for food and drinks.
But here in San Francisco, LinuxWorld is free to anyone who had the wherewithall to register before Sunday. And since old people have nothing to do, the ConFonzie feels that the species is on this coast as well. It's simply a more docile breed.
And docile is a great way to categorize this year's conference. Does this show even need to exist anymore? The kernel contributors wouldn't be caught dead here. This is the 50th LinuxWorld of the year, afterall. The companies that want server equipment aren't coming here to find out about the latest developments in processor boards. Folks looking for network equipment aren't here to see nifty new switches, either. Wide-eyed homeless children without the money for a copy of Windows to install on their third-hand Compaq laptops couldn't register ahead of time, and were thus deprived of Ubuntu CD's. And anyone coming here to see the newest handheld devices and phones would have left feeling like a raped little orphan.
So why pay any money for a fucking booth? Maybe it's the small businesses. Maybe it's the prospect of hiring smart young programmers who've not yet felt the bitter sting of a cubicle's cold steel. Or maybe it was to laugh out loud at Rapleaf.com's job postings in the bathroom stalls.
Do note that the Conference Fonzerelli is eternally grateful to the aforementioned Rapleaf. Without that flyer (pledging a $5000 bounty for anyone who can sucker a friend into applying for an 80-hour-a-week job) your humble narrator would have suffered a most unfortunate, coffee-induced fecal nightmare at the hands of a complicated and empty TP dispenser. Lo, in the heat of the moment, it looked very much like a flyer for something called Rapeleaf.com.
And lo, the Fonzie does wash his hands when he's done.
Photo from Tux Humor [Acota.de]