September 6, 2008

Linux Foundation to host End User Collaboration Summit

Author: Robin 'Roblimo' Miller

The Linux Foundation plans to hold an End User Collaboration Summit in New York City in October. The press release we received introducing the event said, "It's by invitation, but registration is free, in keeping with the idea of opening it to 'real' end users."

Imagine my grief when I checked the "Press/Analyst" button next to the "What type of constituent group do you belong to?" question on the application form and learned that, by virtue of my occupation, I was not allowed to attend. According to a public relations representative, "The logic behind keeping the press out is to make sure that participants do not feel like opinions, ideas, or even dumb questions will be recorded for posterity." I repeatedly asked both Linux Foundation personnel and their PR firm what other occupations would not be allowed to enjoy the event. Would bloggers be blackballed, lest their presence make attendees self-conscious? What about people who work in law enforcement or for intelligence agencies? They never answered the question.

If you plan to be in New York on October 13 and 14, and you are a GNU/Linux user (but not a reporter or industry analyst), you might want to go to this conference. And yes, as long as you are not a professional reporter, you can blog about it, but the PR rep hopes you will leave out personal information about other attendees so that they feel comfortable expressing themselves freely.

Of course, if you do go to this event, and you do blog from it, will be happy to link to (and possibly publish) your blog entries. Please send links or inquiries to We make this offer because, although only a tiny percentage of GNU/Linux users will be able to attend this summit, some of what goes on there may be important to all of us, and it would be good for everyone to learn how valiantly the Linux Foundation is working for all GNU/Linux users, not just its corporate members.

The Linux Foundation (LF) pays Linux Torvalds a salary and otherwise facilitates kernel development. It is also the home of the Linux Standard Base, which works to make it easier for applications developers to write code that will run without modification on any popular GNU/Linux distribution. It's easy to rail against some of the group's policies, which often seem designed to please big companies, not individual GNU/Linux users, but on the whole LF does good work and deserves our support.


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