Ohio Linux Fest: 40th Anniversary of Unix - Call for Papers ending


Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Jul 03, 2009 GMT
Jon maddog Hall

I happened to have a few minutes last night, and I chose to sign onto the Ohio Linux Fest's (OLF) IRC channel to participate in one of their planning meetings. Big mistake, as I walked away with a couple of "todo" items. Beth Lynn Eicher, their fearless leader and taskmaster, lets no one go without a task.......

For those who have never been to an OLF before, I can tell you that while each year's event seems impossible to improve, they keep improving them year after year. This year is special, as it is the 40th year of Unix, and the OLF crew has reached into the past and present to bring up a group of excellent speakers.

Heading up the speakers is Doug McIlroy. I have written about him before, but in case you missed those blog entries, just let me say that Doug is one of those whose shoulders we all stand upon. Doug was the head of the laboratory at Bell Labs that hired Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and many of the other legends of the Unix operating system. Doug is credited with the invention of macros in 1960. I am going to purposely repeat that....Doug is credited with the invention of MACROS! Now some of you might think "big deal"...but if you had never seen a macro before, would you have thought of it? For those of us who used macros (and still use macros) every day to save typing, save errors, etc....well, I thank Doug for his work.

Doug is also credited with the invention of pipes and filters, and wrote some of the original Unix commands such as spell, diff, sort, join, graph, speak, tr to help illustrate how pipes and filters should work. How many Unix and Linux people do shell programming? How many use pipes on the command line? Thanks again, Doug!

Most of all, Doug is an approachable, nice guy...as are all of the people at OLF.

Also in the offering for this 40th birthday of Unix is Dr. Peter Salus, the noted historian of Unix and the Internet. Want to know why some arcane thing exists the way it does? Peter can probably explain it, even if he will not apologize for it.

Not all the speakers will be "old farts", however. Elizabeth Garbee will be on hand, telling how she was almost forced to the walls of Microsoft, but (with the help of her father, Bdale Garbee) managed to break the shackles of software slavery and use Free Software in her school system. Now looking forward to entering college, she will speak about how in a school without walls you do not need Windows.

But these are only the confirmed speakers at this point. The Call for Papers ends July 8th, so if you wish to submit a paper, or a talk, please go to www.ohiolinux.org

Last night I promised Beth Lynn to make this announcement in my blog. Task one is finished.

Carpe Diem

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