The 2004 Ottawa Linux Symposium
starts on July 21. The content this year looks as good as ever: the
includes well-known Linux developers from all over the
world. As usual, the talks place OLS at the forefront of kernel-oriented
Linux conferences, with some don't-miss desktop topics thrown in as well.
It will be a great gathering for anybody interested in where Linux is
going, or who just wants to hang out with a lot of developers and drink too
much beer. At least, for anybody who has registered; OLS is sold out and
is no longer accepting registrations.
Once again, OLS will be preceded by the invitation-only Kernel Summit. At
the same time, the Desktop
Developer's Conference will be happening upstairs; registration for
that event is still open.
The 2004 event will be the sixth annual Ottawa Linux Symposium. We talked
briefly with OLS founder and organizer Andrew Hutton about the event.
LWN: The sixth Ottawa Linux Symposium will be happening next month. Can you
tell us how this event got its start? What inspired you to create OLS?
After attending Linux Expo in North Carolina in 1998 and 1999 and the Atlanta
Linux Showcase I noticed that the technical events were in danger of being
overshadowed by the Dot.Com inspired multi-million dollar marketing events
that were beginning to happen at that time. Nobody I knew would voluntarily
go to one of these new marketing events. At about 4am one morning while
thinking about this problem I asked Alan Cox if he'd consider coming to
Ottawa and doing the keynote for a new event on the other end of the
spectrum, a pure technical event. He said something like 'sure haven't been
to Canada yet, why not' and 3 months later we had the first Linux Symposium.
OLS has become one of the definitive gatherings of free software
developers, especially in the kernel area. How is it that OLS is able
to attract such an impressive list of participants - many of whom have
to travel a long way to get there - every year?
Content, content, content. Above all else we try to attract the best leading
edge content we can. The goal is to create an environment in which nobody
goes to a presentation without learning something new about the subject.
This year, the Desktop Developers Conference will be happening
immediately prior to OLS. Can you tell us a little about this event and
your expectations for it?
The goal is to bring together the various parties involved in a functional
free desktop from kernel people, to X developers, distribution builders,
desktop infrastructure people (GNOME/KDE/etc) and application developers to
share experiences and discuss the areas in which future cooperation is
LWN: The 2004 Kernel Summit will also be happening just before OLS. Do you
expect to host more such events in the future, along the lines of the
successful "miniconfs" which accompany Linux.Conf.Au?
For smaller groups we've encouraged this for years. The Desktop Developers'
Conference will be the first of the more public ones though. It may or may
not remain adjacent to the Linux Symposium in the future. The main reason it
is this year is that despite all the buzz you've heard about the future of
the desktop, there isn't a lot of support for it yet and this makes it easier
for people to justify attending both at this time.
LWN: Another Linux.Conf.Au idea that seems to work well is moving the
conference to a different city every year. Might we ever be able to
look forward to the Jasper or Victoria Linux Symposium?
Probably not. We discuss this every year and people just enjoy coming to
Ottawa ever year. Ottawa is a nice tourist town these days, and has the
facilities we require all within walking distance. One of the great things
about OLS is never needing a car.
The Symposium is currently limited to about 500 attendees. Do you think
you may ever allow OLS to become larger? Why?
There are two main reasons. Space and communications overhead. It is nice to
have time to find and sit and chat with all the people you're looking for
during the event. We do end up a bit larger than 500 some years, but for now
the space we have isn't suitable either. To keep things productive keeping
it small is key.
As usual, LWN editor Jonathan Corbet will be present at OLS and the Kernel
Summit this year.
to post comments)