O'Reilly Open Source Conference

The 4th annual O'Reilly Open Source Conference, July 17-20, was as much fun as last year. This show has much the same flavor of Usenix--geeks talking to geeks. The main difference is which geeks. At Usenix you see virtually all UNIX (including Linux and *BSD) geeks. At the O'Reilly show you see mostly Perl geeks.

Why? Because the O'Reilly show started out much different than Usenix. It was originally a Perl conference. Perl started as a UNIX-based scripting language but things are changing. With Perl expanding into the MS-Windows area (mostly for CGI programming) and the conference expanding in the direction of Open Source, the mix at the show continues to change.

This is my second year in attendance and I see the change. For example, while there was a Python track at the conference last year, the interest level in Python was much higher this year. For example, there was a session on Zope the Python-based web content management system.

My own contribution to diversification was my tutorial titled Programming Without Perl. Its intent was to show that UNIX-like systems include a rich set of utility programs that offer a comfortable alternative to Perl for many projects. The session was well received with many of the attendees stopping to tell me they had found it extremely useful.

The last two days of the event included a trade show--small by major conference standards but substantial considering it was mostly open-source products. On the Linux side, SuSE was there with an iMac in their booth running their new iMac port. This fits in well with our August issue which features an iMac running Yellow Dog Linux on the cover.

Another hot item was Jabber, an innovative new instant messaging system. Open and exciting Jabber is also Linux related. There will be extensive coverage of Jabber in the September 2000 issue of Linux Journal on sale in August.

In the Linux Journal booth we were giving away, in addition to magazines, our new Windows Free Zone barricade tape. Check it out in the Linux Journal Store.

And finally, the good news is that the O'Reilly Open Source Conference has continued to grow. The bad news is that the conference facility in Monterey is maxed out, so the show will be moved to San Diego next year. We at Linux Journal hope to see you there.

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Phil Hughes

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