Penguins Play at Digital Dividends Conference

by Dan Wilder

Demonstrators first swapped mountain climbing stories and tech tips with Seattle Police in attendance, then opened doors for conference attendees while attempting to present them with magazines and CDs, and to inform them of Open Source alternatives which could present good solutions for some Third World problems.

The demonstration was called in response to reports on Techweb.com that Linux companies had been excluded. Subsequent correspondence between demonstration organizer Tim Hanson and Conference officials revealed that Red Hat officials had been invited, though as attendees rather than presenters, but had declined. No other major Linux vendors had been invited.

A few conference attendees were warm to the presentation, exchanging ideas and business cards with the demonstrators. Vijay Chandhu of Simputer Trust, sole presenter of a Linux solution at the conference, spent twenty minutes talking with the contingent. The Conference's Director of Media Relations Adlai Amor accepted boxes of magazines, which he made available in the Conference's press room.

I asked Mr. Amor whether Linux companies, especially those specializing in International solutions, for example Conectiva or TurboLinux might be invited to attend similar conferences in the future. As of wire time, he had not responded.

Linux Journal feels that Open Source in general, and Linux in particular, has great potential for helping to bridge the Digital Divide. We urge the staff of WRI to consider seriously inviting more Open Source and Linux vendors to future events.

Demonstrators display banners in preparation for their action.

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