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Linux Expo Canada (Toronto): mini-report

So, Linux Expo Canada was on from October 30 - November 1, and the LDP was
featured on the impressive little brochure as one of the
exhibitors. However, a long chain of misfortune and misunderstanding wound
up with the result that the LDP did not have a booth set aside. 

Oh, you want the details as to why we didn't get a booth? Ugh. Well, I
thought that Dan York, the "other Dan" on this mailing list, had been
anointed the organizer of our participation in this event. So when the
Linux Expo organizers responded to my initial requests for space, I
responded each time with something like "Okay, great, but since someone
else is organizing this just make sure that we don't end up with two
booths." Sadly, the net result was that we didn't end up with even one

The Expo itself was a rather small event, consisting of about a dozen
exhibitors. Several orgs were there: KDE, NetBSD, LPI, Linux Greenhouse
(an incubator for open-source projects), and the Toronto Linux Users'
Group (TLUG), and several commercial companies were there: LynuxWorks
(wish I knew about their patent filing on kernel modules at the time!),
Tatung, among others.

Many thanks to Wilma Silbermann of the LPI, who generously agreed to
accomodate me and my stack of sample LDP documents within the LPI booth. I
stayed in the LPI booth for about an hour in the morning, catching the
traffic queued up for info on LPI certifications. One of the most FAQ
about certification was "How do I study for the exam?"--and one of the
responses was to check out the LDP, of course. My preparation for the
event included converting about half of the LDP HOWTO library into iSilo
format for my Palm (a format that works out really well, by the way), but
I was only able to beam docs to a couple of people. Sigh.

After an hour, one of the TLUG people told me that Mark Komarinski had
coerced them into grabbing a section of their booth. I scoped out the
situation; Mark had wrangled a separate table, brought his own MP3
Jukebox, and hooked it up to the big ol' speakers supplied by TLUG. A nice
setup. Despite Wilma's friendly nature and jar of jellybeans, I thought
that the right thing to do was crowd the party at the TLUG booth. So, from
that point on, we had a consolidated point of presence. I think it was
safe to say that, with the MP3 Jukebox, Mark had the killer toy of the

The TLUG people were great, by the way, and I'm not just saying that
because they genuinely tried to get me out drinking after the show. If I
had my druthers, in the future I think I would prefer sharing a larger
space with a LUG to having our own booth. This could be a very selfish
impression, but it felt much more like a community--and it really helped
pass the time during the lulls.

Not that there was a huge crowd to deal with; I would guess that a total
of about 250 people showed up throughout the day. Still, my impressions of
the people that did stop to talk was that most of them were familiar with
the LDP and had used some of the docs in the past. I think I did an okay
job of exhorting them to tell us if they found something wrong in a doc,
or had suggestions for improvement, or were helped out tremendously. A
handful wanted to give something back to the LDP, so I trotted out the
usual tasks (Write! Edit! Enhance our tools!) and directed them to the
ToDo list on the web site.

Oh yeah, and Gerard Beekmans (author of the Linux-From-Scratch book)
dropped by to see how things were going. Always cool to meet up with
another writer.

So, despite the initial mishaps, the relatively small show, and the
limited turnout, I think our presence was relatively successful. And the
generous assistance by both Wilma of the LPI and the good people of TLUG
reaffirmed my faith in the Linux community.

Dan Scott,
Friend of the abnormal.

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