So let’s talk about day 1 of UbuntuLive shall we? There are countless blogs and news sites that are covering the “news” of the conference – instead I’ll be talking about the atmosphere, the people and the “vibe.”
I know this is the second day of Ubuntu Live, but I was having some technical difficulties last night with my wifi card. A new card has fixed it (glad I travel with a spare!).
First, I really feel that as an end user I don’t particularly belong here – The “end-user desktop community” sorely under-represented here. Most of the participants are professionals and most of hte talk is about server class systems, deployment studies and the like. Announcements were made regarding future versions, but they were geared towards professionals and professional services.
There were a couple of breakouts that looked semi-geared towards end users. One of them was a technical expo about user experience. Unfortunately the speaker doing this presentation was stuck in a flood in England and coudn’t get to Heathrow to make it to the states and his replacement didn’t really have the presentation down (plus he was working in a French translation which was difficult to follow).
There was lots of talk about “bringing down the man” (my quotes) meaning taking Microsoft out of the market and replacing them with Linux, preferably Ubuntu. Some of the talk is discriminately anti-Microsoft (as expected) and at times is what I would have expected from a televised ministry delivering hellfire and brimstone while healing by touch.
Being new to the free software movement I have been recently exposed to lots of new ideas and philosophies. I internalized lots of the information and here’s what I came up with – The free software movement is very much this techno Gen-X/Y equivelant to the hippie movement of the 60’s. The parallels are strikingly (sometimes breathtakingly) similar. I think a lot of this lends itself to the likes of Jon “Mad Dog” hall, a techno-geek directly from the 60’s and living the techno-hippie lifestyle to this very day.
This shakes out to a world domination philosophy very similar to the socialist movement. In fact it is as similar to the socialist movement as it is to the hippie movment. Like the hippie movement, everyone here is very friendly and open, a few even assisting me with some technical difficulties yesterday.
Friendly that is except the Linspire guy who sat next to me in the afternoon keynote. He wasn’t very friendly at all…
Listening to the keynotes, specifically from the Canonical team, it becomes clear the business strategy of Canonical and Ubuntu. They are using the free software movement and the people who are behind it to drive their product. They are using the free software movement to drive interest (and ultimately acceptance) in their products and services. The money is made on the services, Canonical’s Linux development and Ubuntu Support.
In all, I enjoyed myself on day 1. Once I shifted my mindset to what was really going on around me (instead of what I was anticipating to be happening) I really learned a lot. It has been a good experience and good exposure to new ideas and people. I will admit that I’m still not as “geeked out” to be here as most of the other participants.
I think Ubuntu would be well served to come up with two tracks for future UbuntuLive conferences: One for professionals and another for desktop users where the focus is on usability, eye candy, self support, and self use. If they truly want world domination they need to not just hand out a great desktop with a great desktop experience, but they need to embrace the desktop users and usability.