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From: (Chris Fearnley)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.announce
Subject: Report from Dec 1 Linux Conference at FedUnix
Date: 27 Dec 1994 15:45:41 +0200
Organization: Netaxs Internet BBS and Shell Accounts
Sender: wirzeniu@cc.Helsinki.FI
Approved: (Lars Wirzenius)
Message-ID: <3dp5q5$3aj@kruuna.Helsinki.FI>
Summary: This is an article I wrote for the Data Bus.
Keywords: FedUnix Conference, Linux Conference

Since I didn't see any other postings describing the Dec 1 Linux
Conference in Washinton D.C., I thought I should contribute this.  After
all I already wrote it :)

[This article will be published in the January 1994 Data Bus (at least
they've published every other article I submitted to them :), the
monthly newsletter of PACS, the Philadelphia Area Computer Society.  It
is (perhaps, will be??) protected under the following copyright which I
quote from the cover of the Data Bus.

``Material may be reprinted freely by nonprofit users without requesting
permission if credit is given to the source.  Authors retain all
individual rights and can be contacted through the PACS Mail address.''

PACS Box 312
La Salle University
Philadelphia PA 19141  Phone: (215)951-1255 ]

By Christopher J. Fearnley

Highlights from the D.C. Linux Conference:

Donald Becker of NASA described his group's efforts to maximize
price/performance on compute intensive "supercomputer" class problems by
using off-the-shelf Linux boxes in a parallel computing ethernet
environment.  Performance is only somewhat lower than with real

Dr. Gregory Wettstein of the Roger Maris Cancer Center explained how
Linux was able to dramatically improve patient care at their facility by
providing a reliable distributed peer-to-peer network.  Dr.  Wettstein
suggested some "marketing tips" for Linux.  I have modified one (I guess
I should have taken notes :) which describes Linux as "a cooperative
venture developed on the global information networks."  And I have to
quote another of Dr. Wettstein's phrase-tools: "I would rather spend 10
hours reading someone else's source code than 10 minutes listening to
Musak waiting for technical support which isn't."

Vance Petree of Virginia Power described how Linux replaced a
minicomputer in the task of collecting vital summary data from six
remote sites.  And unlike the mini, Linux hasn't been the cause of any
lost data packets since it took over the job!

Mark Bolzern of WorkGroup Solutions (the FlagShip people) announced that
his company is so enthusiastic about Linux that they are marketing Linux
(not just Flagship) on the assumption that Linux's market growth will,
as a side effect, spur FlagShip sales.

Bob Amstadt, the founder of the wine project, spoke about the Windows
emulator project.  Apparently there are presently only about six wine
developers.  They each have there own special interests which means that
parts of wine are working pretty well and other parts much less well.
It does sound like most of the wine infrastructure is in place.  But a
lot of debugging is left.  Since the funding for a paid intern fell
through, wine is still alpha software.  Don't expect it to reach
production level (including being able to run your favorite windows
apps) until more developers volunteer or are hired by as yet nonexistent
funding.  Amstadt feels another six months at least.

The consensus at the conference seemed to be that Linux works, works
well, and is rapidly taking over responsibility for those
mission-critical applications for which the commercial alternatives have
proven to be inadequate.  Obviously there was a lot of networking going
on, etc., etc.,  One conversation that hit home was on whether Linux is
easier to administer than say DOS or Windows.  Several argued that Linux
is easier because you don't have so many designed-in limitations to
fight with (can you say TSR conflicts?).  This hit home when I returned
to Philly to yet another Windoze job (arghhh!) where I had to manhandle
Windows into submission (yet again) and barely survived.  Put simply:
Windows doesn't work, but Linux does.  Perhaps the only problem with
Linux is that reading the manuals is still important (oh, and it can't
do everything ... yet).

Finally, just in case you didn't see a copy of the January Linux
Journal.  I should quote Linus' answer to Belinda Frazier's question "Do
you have any new hopes for Linux?"  Linus responded: "I think my
``plan'' says something like ``World domination. Fast.'' But we'll see."
I guess Linus isn't satisfied with simply having the best OS around, now
he wants it to take its rightful position at the lead of the OS pack.  I
think I agree with him!

At next month's (January 18) meeting I will talk about "X Resources."

Christopher J. Fearnley         |    UNIX SIG Leader at PACS                  |    (Philadelphia Area Computer Society)    |    Design Science Revolutionary          |    Explorer in Universe
503 S 44th ST                   |    Linux Advocate
Philadelphia PA 19104-3907      |    (215)349-9681
                     finger me at
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