Linux Media Arts Cuts the Fat
Never too weird
Trade Show 3 Las Vegas, April 21 - Here at the National Broadcast Association Expo, Linux Media Arts (LMA) melts away the glutton. While the gamblers cash in their 401Ks and vendors hock $50,000 DV editing stations, LMA gives away its software and sells a 24-hour service contract delivered through workstations running the rock-stable Linux operating system.
"Our systems are lean and mean," said Mike, "the real value is in the service. We look at our software as a conduit for our reliable service options."
And so on.
It was getting late and the French had requested extensions twice from the help. "I hate it when they do this," grumbled the bartender.
By the time I'd finished the release it was 6pm. There is only one thing to do at that hour at trade shows if you're press. Hunt down the cocktail parties and get twisted.
It's the same drill at every show. Every evening a few of the big players will fund some sort of event for the press and executives. Sometimes there's a band. Sometimes there's a disco. But there is always massive quantities of free booze.
These events can never be too weird, like the time the Free Software Foundation threw a party in a children's museum. The building was filled with stuff like working traffic lights controlled by a drum machine. Upstairs was a replica of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. For the party, a disco ball was brought in. Journalists and programmers were wandering around, getting wasted. By 1am I started to see reporters falling asleep at tables, still holding recorders in the air that had long ago ran out of tape. Swaying programmers still mumbled into the deaf machines. . .
I looked at my list and saw that Discreet had something happening at Caesars Palace.
"Did you RSVP?" asked the PR girl.
"No," I answered, "is there room in there?"
"Yes," she said and smiled, "I just wanted to see if we have a name tag for you."
"Do I have to have one?"
"Not unless you want one."
"No thanks. Hey, I need to talk to somebody from Discreet about Linux. I'm writing for Linux Journal, and I want to get some answers about any considerations your company may have about porting their products to Linux."
"I'll find you in a half an hour."
Maybe. There's no telling what will happen with these interviews. Rob Malda from Slashdot had once told me: "Don't talk to 'my people' talk to me," while pointing a toy dart gun at my photographer. "I don't keep schedules. . . you'll just have to talk to me when I'm not talking to someone else. Don't listen to my PR firm."
"Your people are scheduling your interviews," I had just told him, "whether you like it or not." Which was true. Malda's PR firm had sent me two faxes, pimping him as an "underground guide to the Linux counter- culture".
I hoped the Discreet interview would go easy. I tried not to think about the time Eric Raymond ripped the microphone to pieces and stormed off because I asked if he was a communist.
Three reporters were arguing at a table nearby and one was severely drunk. He was leaning against another reporter as he argued.
"How about you shut up and give me some space?" one reporter yelled at the drunk.
"Can I get somebody something to drink?" interrupted a waiter.
"What are you two drinking?" asked the drunk. They replied. "Get these two faggots their drinks," the drunk screamed at the waiter, "I'm leaving". (Cont'd)
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