In response to an uncertain political climate and the recent economic downturn, the USENIX Association and the Atlanta Linux Showcase, Inc. jointly announced today that they will offer free registration to everyone wishing to attend technical sessions at next month's Annual Linux Showcase & Conference in Oakland, California.
USENIX and ALS are making this unprecedented offer because they believe the networking opportunities and high-caliber technical content at this conference provide an important service to their membership and the general open source community.
The current political situation impacts a community already struggling due to the failure of many dot-com companies that used open source operating systems and open source techniques.
"We recognize this may only be a temporary readjustment until the 'brick and mortar' companies start using open source products to a greater degree. Therefore, we feel that it is crucial to provide current technical information to the community at this time," said Jon "maddog" Hall, USENIX Director and ALS Invited Talks Program Chair. "There are also several political issues facing the open source community right now such as DMCA, SSSCA, copyrights, and software patents. The ALS invited talks track reflects this and we felt that we could not put off these important discussions to a later time."
Such focus on the open source community is not new for ALS, which originated as a local Atlanta, Georgia event.
"ALS has historically been a community based show," said Marc Torres, ALS, Inc. President. "Since 1997, it has grown in scope and technical depth along with the open source community. It is a place for Linux developers to comfortably gather, compare notes, and create new ideas. ALS has always been where open source professionals can relax and discuss their projects and interests with their peers. We kept that community very firmly in mind during this decision process."
Hall agrees. "At ALS, people get to talk to the developers and visionaries of Open Source projects. For example, when was the last time that both of the originators of Beowulf were at the same conference?" Hall asked. "This conference is also important for making open source professionals aware of the issues, both political and technical, and to get them mobilized to address them. And to have fun."
"In tough economic times, it's even more important that the public has access to great software at minimal prices. It's even more important to come together to build open solutions that empower consumers and the little guys," said John Gilmore, USENIX Director. "In times when security testing is condemned by Congress as terrorism, its important that we look each other in the eye and remember that we are not the enemy. In times when the economic bubble has burst, its important that we reaffirm that we've been doing open source because it's good for the world, and because it's fun, and not because it was a shortcut to personal wealth."
USENIX, a 25-year old, non-profit association, sponsors conferences that serve the needs of their members and community in the long term rather than the short-term profit model demonstrated by the larger tradeshows.
"We chose the course that provides the most benefits to the community," said Gilmore. "Even in normal times, much of the Linux community work is done by widely distributed people, working alone in their homes, universities, or offices, communicating by email, IRC, and Web sites. We, the people who collectively keep pushing open source technologies, need opportunities for social interaction and one-on-one conversations with technical peers. We need places to meet each other and have a beer. Places to spend an afternoon arguing over the best directions to send our next three months of work."
The 5th Annual Linux Showcase and Conference
November 5-10, 2001
Oakland Marriott City Center
About the USENIX Association
USENIX is the Advanced Computing Systems Association. For over 25 years, it has been the leading community for engineers, system administrators, scientists, and technician working on the cutting edge of the computing world. USENIX conferences are the essential meeting grounds for the presentation and discussion of technical advances in all aspects of computing systems. For more information about the USENIX Association, visit http://www.usenix.org
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