LinuxTag 2006 Report

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(This was originally posted on the geeklog-devel mailing list. I'm reproducing it here since we lost a good portion of our mailing list archives in various moves ...)

From: Dirk Haun
To: geeklog-devel
Date: Sun, 7 May 2006 20:43:03 +0200

Okay, prepare for a rather lengthy report and conclusion from this year's LinuxTag. In case you've been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks: Geeklog had a booth there - the first time ever, AFAIK, that Geeklog had a presence at an exhibition.

The stream of visitors fluctuated a lot over the four days: Wednesday was a slow day, Thursday brought about twice the amount of visitors. Friday started strong, but dropped significantly after lunchtime. I can't remember much of Saturday morning, as I was busy with last-minute preparations and arrangements for my workshop. When I came back from that, though, the booth was pretty crowded and continued to be until Mark Shuttleworth's keynote speech started. During that, there was virtually no movement on the exhibition floor at all. It picked up again after the keynote but after about 4pm, the show was pretty much over (it officially closed at 6pm and we had been asked specifically not to pack up early).

I've heard from several people that this LinuxTag didn't attract as many visitors and exhibitors as previous incarnations. There are probably several reasons for this, including the move to Wiesbaden (first time LinuxTag was held there), the econonmic situation at some companies (HP wasn't there for the first time), and the sunny weather.

We gave out 92 flyers over the four days, which may not sound like a lot but you have to take into account that almost all of those were handed over after giving the visitor a quick rundown of Geeklog's features and sometimes even a demo. And that doesn't include the people who weren't interested and didn't take the flyer or the (few) people who already knew Geeklog and came over for a chat or a specific question.

Reasons why people weren't interested in Geeklog:

  • because it's written in PHP
  • because it uses a database
  • because it uses MySQL
  • because it doesn't support Postgres

The lack of Postgres support was the only one of those that was mentioned more than once (about 3 or 4 people wanted Postgres, I think). The others were only mentioned by one person each and they obviously had very specific reasons ...

I mentioned the upcoming support for MS SQL Server several times, but no one was really interested. Okay, that may have been the LinuxTag bias.

A couple of interesting contacts, ideas, and concepts that were introduced to us:

Lenz Grimmer, Community Relations Manager of MySQL, introduced himself and asked if we had had any specific problems with MySQL in the past. I mentioned the trouble we had identifying the problems our users ran into after switching to MySQL 5 and that it took us a while to figure out that MySQL now had a strict mode and that they changed something in the LEFT JOIN optimisations. He asked that, should we ever run into problems like that again, to contact him ASAP. We certainly will.

The assistant editor of German LinuxUser magazine was very interested in the history of Geeklog and while he admitted that CMS aren't exactly the main focus of their magazine, he also encouraged me to send in notices when new versions are released.

Someone from <> came to our booth and demoed their system, which is an auto-installer for several open source software packages. The interesting bit about their system is that it can install the software on either hosting provided by them or on your own webspace. Projects will have to provide an installer plugin to make it work with their system. They charge 10 Euro for an install, of which 1 Euro goes back to the project (they also welcome feedback on that arrangement). I asked about upgrades, and they are still working on that. I never received the trial key I was supposed to get to try out the system, so I guess I have to contact them again.

Someone from the neighboring Zope booth came to us with a project he's working on to automate link checks. It's an XML-RPC based system that lets you register your links and it notifies you if they start returning errors. It's a free system and I was promised to get more information by email later on.

Overall, I consider LinuxTag a success for us. There were certainly phases where I would have preferred to have more visitors, but the ones we did get were mostly very interested. I remember someone exclaiming, after a demo, "But you're much better than Joomla!" There were also several visitors looking for a CMS to install for their clients. Luckily, I had Markus and Markus with me who both contributed their experiences with Geeklog both as users and from installing it for non- techie clients. That certainly helped convince quite a few of these people. So I hope to see our (German and international) userbase grow a bit now, which was the entire idea behind having a booth at LinuxTag.

I wouldn't have been able to pull this off without the help of Markus

Saturday) who were a great help and fun to work with.

get around to actually upload them from the booth. I've installed Mike's Podcast plugin on now and we will post them there ASAP (they're all in German but you may want to download one just for kicks ...).

bye, Dirk

(The podcasts are up on