Linus Torvalds World Tour 99: Balug Chinatown

What's in this page?

After visiting SVLUG last year (in the Silicon Valley), Linus was kind enough to come to our sister user group, BALUG on Tuesday June 15th, which meets in San Francisco's Chinatown.
This page gives some info on the little talk he made and the Q&A session that followed.

Somehow I always manage to write my pages late at night when I'm tired and even less able to spell or articulate thoughts in a way that makes some sense to other people, than usual that you have to feel free to point out spelling mistakes and factual errors if there are any, I'll update the page quickly.

If you are still bored after reading this page, you're more than welcome to waste even more time by reading other reports I've written, like my pages on Linuxexpo 99, LinuxWorld Expo Winter 99, or the various other reports and pictures I have on my linux page :-)

Marc Merlin


As everyone knows, those who are not fortunate enough to live in the Silicon Valley, live in San Francisco. While the enlightened ones honor us by driving down to see us at each SVLUG meeting, they still felt that they had to have some kind of local linux meeting (as if there was a life beyond SVLUG), and they felt compelled to create BALUG which meets in San Francisco.
Because they usually are lonely during their meetings, and because at SVLUG, we care for our fellow linux users, some SVLUG members usually face rush hour traffic to go to BALUG and make the event more lively.
Oh, and did I tell you about VA and Linuxcare? Mmmmhhh, never mind, forget I said anything :-)
(Hehe, I'm sure I just made a lot of friends. Man, now I'll have to move before they TP my apartement and my car :-))

Anyway, back to serious business: I have to admit, they handled the large crowd (close to 400) beautifully, thanks to the great volunteers from BALUG (under the supervision of Mike Higashi and Dave Mandala, expert event organisers).

Rick Moen and Nick Moffitt, two of the BALUG volunteers


The Four Seas Restaurant, the restaurant in Chinatown where BALUG meets every month, and were we enjoy great food before each talk, was really packed that evening. Say what you want, but Linus moves people.


The presentation

The cool thing with Linus is that he will sign anything you want or also: books, t-shirts, laptops, you name it (even a leather jacket once). The only rule he has is no signing of body parts :-)

[picture] [picture]

Dave Sifry from Linuxcare and Chris Dibona from VA Linux Systems made the introduction, and announced that since Linuxcare and VA were giving money to the Debian project for each person who attended Linus's talk, about $7000 was going to be donated. Thanks to both companies.

[picture] [picture]


Then came time for Linus to speak. Since he prefers interactive talks, he gave a 10-15mn presentation and then switched to questions and answers.
What he mentionned was that while the 2.3 branch started recently, he definitely wants that branch to be over much faster than the 2.2 branch which took forever (2.5 years). What he is looking at is to have 2.4 out before the end of this year, but time will tell and as he said "I have been known to slip before" :-)
For now, the two main things for the 2.3 branch, are USB support and performance enhancements. In the 2.2 branch, SMP was greatly enhanced but there is still work to do, especially if you look at some benchmarks. It's also a good thing to improve those for PR reasons.


Linus then switched to Q&A and mentionned the following things:


Linuxcare did it again, this time they used Debian for their Simply Palm-like poster ad.

Mike Higashi showing off the new Linuxcare poster

See this bit of my linuxexpo report for the Red Hat version of this poster, and the story associated with it.

If you want free palm pilots, write your own free OS :-)
This time, it's linuxcare who gave Linus a Palm Pilot, version V, no less...



Because the real linux geek has no life outside of CABAL meetings (there is no CABAL), we couldn't quite go home yet, and because you can actually find places to eat after 22:00 in San Francisco (other than Denny's that is), we went to Max's




Thank you very much to all the fine folks from Linuxcare, BALUG and the other volunteers who made all this happen and to Sam Ockman for getting Linus as a speaker in the first place.

If you want to see more pictures I took that evening, you can browse the picture library. You can also find an article from Reuters here

See y'all next time.

Marc Merlin (

[ms free site] Email
Link to Home Page

99/06/17 (01:48): Version 1.0
99/06/17 (09:15): Version 1.1. Added the date of the event
99/06/17 (12:25): Version 1.2. Fixed a few references from Linuxcare to BALUG. Credited Dave Mandala
99/06/17 (15:33): Version 1.3. Fixed a few spelling mistakes that were reported to me 99/06/23 (23:10): Version 1.4. Added link to article on Yahoo