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I survived LinuxExpo 2009 ...

LinuxExpo is one of the biggest Czech Linux and open-source software events. It takes place every year in Prague and openSUSE project is for several years already one of the event regulars. In our openSUSE booth visitors can see and try the newest openSUSE release, get openSUSE DVD for free or buy a T-shirt. At the same time, talks and presentations of folks from Prague SUSE office are part of the event program.

This year, I also participated. With Miso Zugec, we had a joint talk on network-based installation and AutoYaST. Miso opened the talk by saying that for installing openSUSE on your machine neither you necessarily need any of the usual pre-requisities such as DVD, hard-disk or monitor, nor you have to spend 1 hour in cold server room clicking and answering installer's questions. He has shown some practical examples of how to use installation repository on network, install on iSCSI disk, or remotely via SSH or VNC.

I went on to introduce AutoYaST - a tool that comes in really handy when you install often, install lot of machines and you want to automate great part of the process. I introduced the basic concept of AutoYaST, showed folks the smallest AutoYaST profile in the world, how to clone your system and mentioned even some advanced AutoYaST usage, such as "<ask>" feature (a simple way of interactively asking for user input - such as root password or hostname - in the beginning of installation), or AutoYaST scripts.

In general, the talk was a success and I'm not saying that just because the presentation room (with ~100 seats) was so full that people had to stand on the corridor as they did not fit in. For me, much more significant measure was the number and meaningfullness of the questions people were asking in question time. At the end, I was really sorry that I did not have more time, so I could have introduced even more AY features, such as rules.

We spent the rest of the day in our openSUSE booth. To attract more visitors, a quiz question on openSUSE (Did you know when the openSUSE project was founded?  Or how many binary packages is there in our BuildService?) was published every hour or so and folks could submit their answers. At announced time, three correct answers were drawn and winners got openSUSE T-shirts, plush geekos and other presents.

Other open-source project also participated on the event. For example, our booth was just next to Ubuntu's one (it was funny to see how people used Ubuntu machines in there to google for correct answers to openSUSE questions :) ). All in all, Pavol has some interesting pictures from the event (these are from Day 1) and there is also an article on LinuxExpo on root.cz (in Czech only, I'm sorry).

P.S. root.cz could definitely benefit from hiring a better photographer ... and I'm not saying that just because I, unlike the photo, don't look like zombie in real life :D In general, much of the photos from the talks are of rather bad quality, considering the fact that you can do much better with my beloved Canon EOS 350D (which is what their photographer also had).

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