June 1999 Troubleshooting Professional Magazine: More Heroes, and a Trip to Linux Expo

Copyright (C) 1999 by Steve Litt. All rights reserved. Materials from guest authors copyrighted by them and licensed for perpetual use to Troubleshooting Professional Magazine. All rights reserved to the copyright holder, except for items specifically marked otherwise (certain free software source code, GNU/GPL, etc.). All material herein provided "As-Is". User assumes all risk and responsibility for any outcome.

<--Mark Spencer   |   Linux Log: The Heart and Soul of Linux Expo-->

Linux Expo Rumors, Tips and Observations

By Steve Litt


A guy who admittedly had "had too many beers" strolled up to me at the  SuSe party and started talking. He explained that Applix Builder was a Free Software Delphi-like development environment that blew the doors off everything else, including TCL/TK. He also told me Applix doesn't have the marketing smarts to know what they had. One thing I knew was that I had spent ten minutes at the Applix booth the day before, and they hadn't mentioned Builder. I went back to Applix to investigate.

No, it's not Free Software. It's part of their Applix Office suite, so it's $99.00 (dirt cheap for a good development environment). Unfortunately, I came by right as they were conducting their raffle, so I couldn't get a demo or even answers to my questions. It was already 1:20PM on the last day -- I had 600 miles to drive before I slept, so I had to leave without full info. So readers -- if any of you use Applix Builder, please let me know what you think of it.

Red Hat Knows How To Throw a Party

It was Wednesday night at a place called Jillian's, billed as an "adult gaming bar". I envisioned a place where you could buy a drink then go to a peep show. Being a geek, I just wanted to talk shop at the party.

Well, there's not a bit of porn at Jillians. The "adult games" they refer to are virtual reality car and motorcycle racing, other video games, and a pleasant variety of physical realm games including volleyball, ping pong and pool. Snacks included carrots and celery and pizza. Open bar served beer and soft drinks (thanks for thinking of us non-drinking people). For the barroom experience you could hang inside. Jocks could play ping pong and volleyball. And if you just wanted a little peace and quiet, or if you wanted to really hear what the person next to you was saying, there were several tables in a sand area away from the noise.

The company was excellent, and everyone was primed. As the evening progressed, cliques broke up and merged with other cliques. You could meet almost anyone you wanted to. It was a geek-clique square dance. The party was supposed to be from 7:30pm to 9:00pm. I left at 10:20pm and it was still going strong.

Suggestion to SuSe: Next Time Don't Disco

SuSe's Friday night party had great eats, great company, plenty of room, open bar for beer and soft drinks. It was great. At least til they turned on the dance music an hour and a quarter into the party. The music was so loud conversation became impossibile -- I left. I suppose I could have danced, but you know what -- I didn't need to come 600 miles to dance. And I prefer to dance with my wife.

Less than 10% of the attendees were women, and less than half the women danced -- probably because they didn't come to North Carolina to dance, and probably preferred to dance with their husbands. So the minute the music went on, more than 90% of the attendees were disenfranchised.

SuSe: You have a great product, you drew a great crowd and obviously know how to put on a great party. One piece of advice:  Take a page from Red Hat's book. Next year have your party at a place with a wide variety of activities and a reasonable noise level.


Never heard of it? Neither had I. But in fact, according to the April 16, 1999 100hot at http://100hot.com/home.chtml, they're the #60 web presence. And they're prolific web authors. I met Robin Miller, one of their content providers, at the Red Hat party wednesday night. He's a nice guy, a talkative guy, and a wishing well of great information. He writes Andover.Net site's Techsightings, a daily website review. As if that isn't enough, he also writes Andover Net News' "Cheap Computing" column.

Andover.Net lists over 10 affiliated sites, apparently written by less than 10 full time content providers. I know how hard it is to write content for just one site, so I want to learn these guys' productivity secret. And their sites are so darned professional. Check out Andover.Net.

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Speaking of 100hot.com, remember when Windows95.Com was way up the list (in the teens, as I remember)? Today I couldn't find it, or its Winfiles.Com incarnation, in 100hot's tech 100. Nor could I find it in the 100hot Windows, February 17, 1999, unless it's the #33 Window95.Com (note the missing 's') that wouldn't pull up a site . Winfiles.Com is now owned by CNET. Looks to me like Steve Jenkins sold while the selling was good (according to web page http://www.winfiles.com/about/staff.html Jenkins is still webmaster). I wonder if Steve is now using Linux...

This might be a good time to reconsider any Microsoft-oriented investments, and investigate Linux.

Steve Litt can be reached at Steve Litt's email address.