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Re: Red Hat Summit in New Orleans - Day -1

On Tue, May 31, 2005 at 09:33:52PM -0500, Ed Wilts wrote:
> We don't need no stinkin' blogis when the redhat lists are available...
> Any other list members hiding out at the Summit that want to meet up?
> I'm here on Day -1 of the Summit.  

Day 1 started with a decent breakfast (once people found out where
breakfast was - they forgot to mention that in the registration
paperwork and a bunch of people were hunting around).

3 keynotes started the day.  Matthew Szulik opened it up, and then left
the state after about 15 minutes (he was scheduled for 30).  We were
wondering what was going on when a choir (the Joyful Choir from New
Orleans) walked on, followed by Szulik in the choir robe and started
leading them in song.  He doesn't have a bad voice but I don't think he
should quit his day job.   :-)  I'm hoping that somebody recorded that
and will put it on the web.  Szulik stated that there were 698 attendees
(I heard later the number was up to 740).  Informally, I heard some
vendors paid for some of their key clients to go but I believe that is
common for some conferences like this.

Martin Fink from HP is responsible for both Linux and Nonstop (aka
Tandem).  That's no coincidence and he hinted at the Tandem systems
running Linux in the future.  He's already seeing a lot of applications
running on them as a pair - e.g. Sabre (which Travelocity uses) runs
RHEL and MySQL on HP servers on the front end (all of your searches) and 
then the transaction is processed on a Tandem Nonstop system on the back
end.  He noted that over $9 trillion in daily transactions (not all
Sabre obviously) are processed using Linux in some way or another.

The 3rd keynote (the visionary keynote) was John Buckman from Magnatune.
He was comparing the open source models to the music models.  He made me
really glad I'm in the computer industry (quote of the day: "if you
think that SCO's lawyers are bastards, you've never dealt with the

I attended a very packed SELinux presentation - standing room only for
probably 150+.  The keynotes ended early so the presenter started the
session early which sucked - I got there 10 minutes early and he was
already into his presentation.  This was a great overview especially
for the RHEL crowd who just saw SELinux with RHEL 4 (it's been in Fedora
since Core 2).  He pointed us to some good documentation (like the
Apache/SELinux docs) on the Fedora web site and was already talking
about changes coming in RHEL 4 Update 2.  

I was planning on attending the SELinux technical session but it didn't
start well and I left to attend the cluster technical overview instead.
I heard from somebody else that the session ended up being a good one.
The cluster technical session was another standing room only one - about
100 people were in this smaller room.  It was rapid-fire and unless you
had some cluster knowledge already (especially VMS clusters), it
probably flew overhead.

I then hit the Cluster Administrative Overview which was attended by
about 80 people.  It was a bit slower paced but still hit all the good

Matt O'Keefe (Sistina's founder) was up next talking about open source
storage management. He covered differences between RHEL 3 and 4 (ext3)
as well as the cluster file system and cluster logical volume manager.
He also talked about the changes in snapshots (read-only in lvm1 but
read-write in lvm2).

By now my brain was getting fried but I had to concentrate on Stephen
Tweedie's Scottish accent.  This was an interesting session on ext3
futures not only because I was really interested about this topic but
because I first heard Stephen Tweedie talk probably 10+ years ago at a
Decus conference when he was with Digital.  I keep running across Red
Hatters who have VMS and/or DEC work experience (thank God Red Hat ended
up with the techies and not the marketing department!).  I really need
to get my hands on Tweedie's slides since he's got some really good
benchmark graphs in there.  RHEL 3 - create 1 million files takes 20,000
seconds.  RHEL 4 with htrees - create 1 million files in 115 seconds.  A
wee bit of an improvement.  He was talking about other changes that are
already merging or have been merged into the upstream kernels that we'll
see soon.  Red Hat's policy is that no ext3 changes that require changes
to the ondisk structure will be incorporated into a RHEL release until
the change has been accepted in the upstream kernels.  This prevents
incompabilities from biting us.  Wise move.

Very few presenters have had handouts available but I've heard that
they're coming. I hope they put them up where the non-attendees can read
them too.

Overall, the sessions and the presenters have been superb.  They're also
talking the time to be available for questions which is nice to see.
>From talking to other attendees,  everybody seems pretty pleased with
the Summit so far.  Hopefully we'll see another Summit again next year
with even more topics being covered.

Now it's off the Casino and Celebrity Poker party sponsored by HP...


p.s. Red Hat does have some live Summit coverage on their web site if
you want somebody else's perspective.  I just noticed that somebody
posted a link to the video there.

Ed Wilts, RHCE
Mounds View, MN, USA
mailto:ewilts ewilts org
Member #1, Red Hat Community Ambassador Program

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