July 2006


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OSCON and old friends

I took some time off from work today to see if my old swag-gathering skills were still up to par – OSCON’s Exhibit Hall being free and all. Turns out that swag is getting better – I scored 4 T-shirts this time :)

I also ran into an old friend of mine from high school. Ben was the stereotypical computer nerd back then – skinny, with coke-bottle glasses up until our senior year and about 98#s sopping wet. After graduating, though, he went off to college in Berkely and went native – when I came back to Portland, he was sporting the baggy shorts/poncho/chin scruff style of a SoCal hippie.

As of not too long ago though, the scruff, shorts and poncho are gone and he’s looking much more the standard sysadmin. When I ran into him today, he was also holding a definitive open-source icon – free beer. Allow me to explain:

In the open-source world, there is more than one definition of “free”: free as in speech and free as in beer. Speech here in America is pretty free, but you do have to watch your P’s and Q’s so as to not get yourself sued for slander or other such crap. Nice in theory, but can be tricky in practice. Free beer, however, is usually just that – the person that gave it to you doesn’t really want it back.

Well, one of the exhibitors decided to embrace this idea, and trotted out a keg of MacTarnahan’s. This got them quite a bit of attention, of course. It’s a shame I don’t like beer.

The rest of the show was much as you would expect from a geek convention: every power outlet I saw had laptops plugged into it, every table I saw had at least one latop on it, and there was about a 20:1 male/female ratio. There weren’t any cell phones there though – everyone I saw had a Treo instead.

One reply to “OSCON and old friends”

  1. GreyDuck Says:

    I’m quite annoyed to have been out of town for OSCON. Ah well.

    Treos, eh? I wonder how many of them are, ironically enough, those 700w models. You know… the Windows ones. *cough*