linux.conf.au 2007 Open Day

Joe Hurd is in town – he’s been working with some other local researchers on how to verify probabilistic computing systems. We were looking for some place to meet and catch up with each other, so I suggested we go to the Linux Conference Australia 2007 Open Day.

It was an interesting afternoon – a whole lot of exhibits, talks, and free food.

There were things like non-standard UI devices (dance mats, Wii Remotes, body/motion-detecting cameras) connected to Linux, Linux on amateur rockets and amateur satellites (“running Debian unstable”), commercial-and-homebrew Linux PVRs, a homebrew Linux-based Segway, and a homebrew Linux-based 3D-printer (“prints 1cc per hour”). Oh, and flashing fridge magnets from Google.

I took along Liam, my grade 1-aged son. I sat him down in front of one of the One Laptop Per Child laptops – there were three of them there at an exhibit. (These are the $100 laptops that you can’t actually buy yourself, even for $300.) We played around, and had someone run us through a demo. I don’t know… Liam happily uses both Windows and Linux at home, but he (and I) were a little stumped by the OLPC user interface. Maybe it was just our previous experience tainting us, but it seems a little strange to put a “non-standard” GUI on a mass-market item. Though I guess if it sells in the volumes they’re hoping, maybe it will end up being a “standard”!