Keynote Speech at OLF 2011

Posted on Sun 11 September 2011 in Tech

This talk was given by Cathy Malmrose of ZaReason and mostly consisted of her relating how awesome it is to have an operating system that "just works", to steal a phrase from the Steve. This enables her to focus on the hardware, making it as robust, powerful, and cost effective as possible, without needing to focus too much on the operating system.

She related several support conversations she has had with her customers, and how they either love how well Linux works on the desktop (I believe they use Ubuntu) or how they need a computer that won't get viruses or won't come bloated with software, and that won't waste their time. She lamented the fact that developers often aren't in direct contact with the users of our products, and that disconnect means we are never really directly appreciated. She, however, has a dedicated client support line for her hardware business, so she gets to interact with the client. She remarked how great it is that Linux has matured to the point that she is getting calls like "how do I turn it on" rather than "my network card isn't supported."

She also apparently is somewhat anti-corporation, which could be the proximity of UC-Berkley rubbing off on her. She mentioned the documentary The Corporation. However, I think she genuinely wants to provide an excellent service to people, and the mindset of Linux fits very well within that particular ideology.

During the talk she tangentially mentioned technology in education, and how we are moving from rigid computer instructional software to more real-world types of problem solving, navigational, and practical learning software. She gave the example of Minecraft and how her son learned to navigate Paris from playing a racing game. I don't really see how this relates to Linux, but whatever, it was interesting.

Overall it was a very broad talk encompassing several topics, but it was a keynote, and it was a good overview of all the ways Linux is used, and how much the developer community is appreciated. So, a good opener for the day.