Going for the Gold

by Jason Schumaker

LinuxWorld is quickly fading from memory. The show has been over for nearly a week, and it is now time to turn my attention back to the production of Linux Journal. But, while I was sitting at my desk (at home, after hours), thinking of a quick piece to nicely wrap up the show that was, I came up with (after a six-pack of Guinness and two episodes of Baywatch Hawaii) this: Jason's Lighter Side of the LinuxWorld Awards ®-- NYC 2000. While awards for best hardware or software are important from a user perspective or vendor perspective, these awards have very little value. If there is a value, it is to show the lighter side of our community. That's all.

  • Most Sexist, Yet Effective Booth: This one goes to the FreeBSD team. In case you haven't heard, there were three (maybe four) rather curvaceous women wearing red vinyl suits, complete with devil horns. They handed out free wares, including little Styrofoam devil horns, which also included the recipient having their picture taken with the girls. I ripped FreeBSD in an earlier report from the show, and received a few nasty letters. While I still think the idea was lame, I certainly admit that seeing the women every morning was like a second cup of coffee.

  • The Most Annoying Booth: Without question, it goes to SCO. Their special brand of rap/funk/crap was commendable only for the amount of courage shown by those in the band. Condolences go out to the people at the Hewlett-Packard booth, who were a mere bass pop from the speakers. HP lost one boothperson to a nervous breakdown, and are still assessing the damage done to their IA64-run cluster!

  • Best Breakfast (meaning, they paid): This one goes to Illiad and the User Friendly Media team. Doc Searls and myself found our way to the Fitzpatrick Hotel at 8AM Thursday morning. Crusty-eyed and bitchin' for coffee, we settled in to a wonderful breakfast, and a stimulating discussion about the future of UF. The overall theme was of a highly secretive nature (the next Transmeta?) that may be the next logical link toward World Domination.

I am always amazed at how much coffee I can drink, which brings me to the next award.

  • My award for the Most Important Morning/Afternoon Stimulant: This one was hotly contested. I have to mention that the girls at the Stormix booth nearly pulled off the upset. However, the award goes to, that's right—Coffee! Wherever I found it, be it at my hotel, the morning bagel stop, at the stand inside the convention center, or just sitting somewhere unattended, I felt it had somehow made me whole.

  • Most /. -able and Unsubstantiated Rumor: this goes to someone, who shall remain nameless (namely because I forgot their name), that said “...the folks from /. are riding a mighty high horse over there next to VA Linux.” Okay... I didn't get a chance to visit with the /. group, but I sure could have used an hour or so in one of their beanbag chairs.

  • Wealthiest Person Who Walked Past Me Without Acknowledging My Presence: Robert Young of RHAT. Not sure what he would have said to me, but I was hurt nonetheless. (Incidentally, second place went to Mario Cuomo. He wasn't at LinuxWorld, but WAS on my flight home. Some might argue that Mario could have more money, but his not sitting in first class would seem to indicate otherwise. Like you care.)

  • Award for Hypocrisy: This one goes to ME, for calling FreeBSD classless and sexist for the devil girls in red vinyl, then referring to the women of Stormix as 1) girls, and 2) stimulants.

  • Biggest Misjudgment (that inadvertently shed a negative light on Linux in the minds of media other than that from the community): IDG gets this one. Even though they put on a good show, they provided only one computer running Linux (which I didn't see) in the press room. I asked Kristin DeAngelis, marketing manager at IDG, to explain. She said, “We provide for everyone, but we need to especially provide for the majority to make sure the maximum information about the show can get out to the public.” I am really not meaning to bash IDG (or Kristin), but this is a Linux show, and when the “other press” is in our house, they should use our OS. IDG is basically showing that Linux isn't ready to get the information out, which is simply not true. There were probably 14 computers running Windows, which I haven't really used before. I lost whole paragraphs while working on articles (I still don't understand how), but was never treated to the blue screen of death.

  • Coolest Mascot: The User Friendly Dust Puppy! Find some pictures, if you haven't already seen it. A very close second was the SuSE lizard, who tried to bite me!

  • The Friendliest Booth: How do you pick this one? Everyone was nice, except the people from Linux Magazine (I'm probably just joking). Still, the votes are in, and the winner is... Merlin Software. They had a Merlin Software pinball machine, cool hats and just damn friendly folk, that is until I pointed out the alarming similarities between their logo and that of newcomer LinuxWizardary. Judge Judy has been contacted.

  • Best Impersonation of Richard M. Stallman: Hands down, this award goes to Alan Cox. If it wasn't for the red hat (and the fact that I knew it was Alan Cox), I would have sworn I was standing a mere five feet from RMS. Has anyone actually seen them together?

  • Best T-Shirt: I don't know where I got it, but simplicity of design always gets me. The award goes to the “Chicks Dig UNIX” shirt. A black t-shirt with a simple white design. Nothing on the back, and the shirt isn't six sizes too big.

  • Tastiest Typo: Appgen Business Software, Inc. Thanks to them for handing out the Appgen candy bars, but a close examination of the back stated that “Linux is a registered trademark of Linux Torvalds.”

  • Best Question (directed at Linus, during his keynote): Will Bruce Pehrens please come forward to accept this award? His question: “I have an old laptop and I would like to play DVDs on it.” (said in a what-would-you-recommend-I-do tone)

  • Best Failed “Acquisition” Attempt: The last award, and it seems only fitting to close with a category that addresses one of the hottest topics swarming around Linux. This award goes to RHAT (big surprise!) for their failed attempt at acquiring Eric Raymond. The deal, reportedly worth $2.1 million in an RHAT-owned stock medley, was nixed by Raymond, as he was quoted as saying, “Part of the deal was that I had to wear one of those f*#kin' red hats. Anyway, $2.1 million is bupkes. I was holding out for one of the BSD wenches!”

Well, that's that. The show was a success by all standards. Linux is rising, rising, rising and Linux Journal will be there for every step, leap, acquisition and IPO! Perhaps I will see you at the next show...

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