Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2011 revisited

Last weekend I attended the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2011, one of the biggest community events here in Germany. The reason I didn’t blog about it earlier is simple: I didn’t know what to write except: It was like every year.

 

Banner at the entrance of Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2011

Banner at the entrance of Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2011. Photo by Jörg Simon

This doesn’t mean that the event was bad, by far not. It was just as great as every year. You really can rely on the CLT people, they have a fantastic group of volunteers to help out at the event. They take care of everything, no matter what it is. The catering was extraordinary once again, especially on the social event on Saturday evening.

I would have liked to party harder, but I had to give my Kolab talk on Sunday morning, so I went back to the hotel early. Why do I always get the slots on the morning after the social event? Happened to me at FOSDEM 2009 and OpenRheinRuhr 2010 already. :(

As every year I met quite a lot of people at Chemnitz, way too many to name them all. The Fedora team consisted of Jörg, Robert, Fabian, Sven, Jens and me (obviously). With Michael and Dominic two more Fedora contributors were helping at the Xfce booth but unfortunately our Czech friends from Red Hat Brno could not join us.

 

Exhibition and Fedora booth at Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2011

Exhibition and Fedora booth at Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2011. Photo by Jörg Simon

I managed to get rid of a lot of media. I had 7 boxes with me, roughly 700 discs. One box was picked up by Vinzenz for Augsburger Linux Info day next week and two are for Gerold for the Linux Days Graz in April. Fabian was so kind as to take them with him and drop them off at Gerold’s on his way home to Switzerland. The other 4 boxes were mostly distributed at CLT and the rest was given to somebody for another event. I like really this distribution method: Fast, effective and inexpensive.

On the negative side we have the “Battle of the distributions” on Saturday. It was not really a battle because the different distros (Debian, Fedora, Mandriva, OpenSUSE, Pardus and Ubuntu were not fighting but rather showing how to manage a particular task with their latest release. The first exercise was how to view YouTube. As we all know YouTube doesn’t run with gnash, so this means installing the proprietary Adobe Flash plugin. :(

I have to admit that it’s a typical problem beginners are facing, so it is a valid exercise, but it’s not really a good example to compare the quality of the distributions. If the first thing on a free software event is to install unfree software, something is wrong.

The winner was Ubuntu here, they have patched the Firefox plugin finder to not only find the Flash plugin but also to install it through apt. On the other hand Ubuntu had some problems later when somebody asked how to revoke the sudo privileges of the first user (only possible on the console). Fedora also didn’t do that bad: I had to go to the Adobe homepage, but at least they offer a yum repository, so we could do a completely graphic click-through install and will get updates later.

 

The 'Battle of Distributions'

The 'Battle of Distributions'. Photo by Jörg Simon

Unfortunately this was not only the first but also the only exercise because things got a little chaotic afterwards. The Pardus guy managed to completely screw up his machine before the competition started, so he had to reinstall it while we were already doing the Flash exercise. We skipped him and when we all were finished, it was his turn. He still hadn’t finished his install, but he had all the time in the world to show their first-run wizard and configure icons, wallpapers and some more stuff, before the wizard crashed. So he went through it again and when he was done, there was nothing left to do because Pardus delivers all kinds of questionable proprietary software out of the box. They even package Windows Binaries for wine!

To me Pardus was clearly the looser, their X crashed every time when it was switched to the big screen, but the Pardus guy managed to turn failure into a win: The more problems he had, the more time he had for telling how great Pardus is. The presenter was to kind to interrupt him, so it became a Pardus show. Fedora at least got some extra attention when I was to tell something in SELinux and I was told that my presentations were pretty convincing, but other great distributions like Debian only had 5 minutes to show their work.

Apart from this Chemnitz was really great again – but you don’t expect something different.

(Thanks to Jörg for his blog posts and his photos and to Fabian for his event report)