First, we asked them what they felt they had accomplished. They provided us with a large number of items, including:
On a personal level, the most critical achievement reported was the development of a higher level of understanding of each team member, with a corresponding increase in the level of respect for one another. The opportunity to put a face, and most importantly a personality, to the names of the people with which they work was invaluable. As a result, they expect to be able to better handle communication in the future. "I hated your code!" can be handled in a less emotional manner once you've talked to someone and realized that the bluntness is part of the way they communicate, not a personal attack.
David Wexelblat, the president of The XFree86 Project, had never met any of the other Hothouse attendees in person prior to the flight. Other team members came in from Canada, Germany, Canada, as well as from all over the United States. Keith Packard, one of the original "greats" in the development of the X protocol, joined The XFree86 Project only last Saturday. He said that the Hothouse spun him up in one short week, allowing him to immediately make a high level of contribution to the project.
"It was the best fun", commented one team member. The Hothouse, originally scheduled for four days, was extended another two days because of its success. They are definitely committed to doing it again, at ALS 2000.
Congratulations are definitely due to the ALS organizers for the motivation and organization to put together the Hothouse, to SuSE, who paid for the costs of the Hothouse, and to VALinux who provided the hardware. The XFree86 team gave personal thanks to Vernard ("V") Martin, the ALS team member assigned to support this Hothouse, and the volunteers that worked with him to find last minute cards, mice or any other needs the developers had.
"This has been an incredibly productive week for The XFree86 Project", says Robin Cutshaw, a board member of the group. With the support of the Atlanta Linux Enthusiasts, SuSE, and VA Linux, a group of core designers and developers from all over the world have been brought together in Atlanta at the Atlanta Linux Showcase. These key people are members of The XFree86 Project, an organizaton that develops the desktop graphics software that is a key part of most Linux software distributions. These distributions are provided by companies like SuSE, the financial supporter that made the XFree86 'Hothouse' a reality. David Dawes, president of The XFree86 Project adds, "Without SuSE's support, our goals for the Hothouse wouldn't have been realized. We have made more progress this week than in any other week in the history of The XFree86 Project." The twelve key developers were flown into Atlanta from countries including Australia, England, Germany, Canada, and several US cities. The space was provided by the Atlanta Linux Enthusiasts, the group responsible for the Atlanta Linux Showcase. Computers were provided by VA Linux, one of the leading suppliers of Linux server hardware and software. "This week has been so successful, we will be scheduling the Hothouse as an annual event".