Saturday, August 13, 2005

Metro Detroit Linux User's Group

A few weeks ago I was looking for user groups in the Detroit area. I stumbled across the Metro Detroit Linux Users Group web site and found out that they meet the second Saturday every month. August was the first month that I decided to attended. The night before going to my first meeting I decided to check the site again to verify the time of the meeting. While browsing the site, I noticed that Eric S Raymond would be presenting this month. I was pretty excited to learn that Raymond would be at the meeting. He happens to be one of the biggest names in open source software. Raymond ranks up with the likes of Stallman and Torvald.

Raymond's presentation was very interesting. To begin the presentation Raymond gave the audience a number of possible topics that he could talk about and let the audience decided what it would like. The first thing that Raymond talked about is one of the reason that Linux hasn't caught on with the average users is because of the complexity of the user interface for Linux programs. Raymond's view is that all software should be designed with the goal of a user not needing documentation to run a program. Another interesting point that Raymond made is the Linux software should move away for using the GPL license and use the BSD license. Raymond's perspective is that open source projects should worry about proprietary companies using open source code because the open source community will create better software than a company will. The market will than drive users to use the open source programs instead of a program that is refined by a corporation.

Overall, I would recommend anyone who has not seen Eric Raymond talk to do so if they get a chance. Raymond let the audience control the presentation by letting them discuss with him whatever they were interested in.