Notes from LinuxCon 2013

I’m back from LinuxCon and it’s already been fairly well covered, so I just wanted to share some of my quick impressions:

  • Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation, is very dynamic and charismatic. He’s a great face for Linux. I can see where CEOs, CFOs, and CTOs would feel very comfortable interacting with him. This was the first time I saw him in action and I was very impressed.
  • A recurring theme was that Linux had won the desktop wars via Android. Zemlin said we were at the end of an OS era and that the desktop is less relevant now, which is probably true for the average user, but I think the people who need to use a desktop are really counting on desktop Linux.
  • Dirk Hohndel of Intel also made the case that Linux was killing it on clients, so the desktop market was less important, although he also cited the success of the Chromebook. He also mentioned how the Chromebook and Ubuntu don’t present themselves as Linux, and didn’t seem very enthused by that.
  • I didn’t see a lot of attention given to this, but Eben Upton of the Rasberry Pi Foundation demonstrated a Rasberry Pi acting as a desktop and using Wayland. It’s still early, but it’s a very interesting Pi application. Upton’s talk, which was great, is online.
  • Greg Kroah-Hartman’s talk on the state of the Linux kernel was fantastic (he also served his slides off of a Rasberry Pi, which was pretty cool). In general, I was amazed at the quality of the talks. I knew the content would be solid, but the presentations themselves were almost uniformly great. The slides were engaging and no one read off of them, which is definitely a thing at many technology conferences.
  • Linus Torvalds spoke on a kernel panel on the last day of the conference. Needless to say, the room was more than full. No one fainted, which I guess was good.
  • My talk seemed to go OK, although I’m probably not the best judge. I ran into someone who said they enjoyed my talk, which left me feeling good. But then he ended with “You kind of got heckled at the end, didn’t you?” I hadn’t thought I was heckled, so I’m just trying not to think about it. The slides are here. The heckles go in the comments below.