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Report from ApacheCon 2000

by Paula Ferguson

Report from ApacheCon 2000: Day 1

I'm spending the next three days in Orlando, Florida, attending ApacheCon 2000. The conference is being held at the Caribe Royale Resort Suites, which despite a strong conference turnout, is mainly inhabited by lots of parents and their young children, due to the proximity to Disney World. Orlando isn't high on my list of places to visit, especially during the prime spring-break travel season, but duty calls....

I missed the opening plenary session this morning, as my overnight travel plans had to be rearranged due to weather delays in San Francisco (imagine that!). But I heard from Ben Hyde, a member of the Apache Software Foundation, that I didn't miss much. Ken Coar, the conference technical chair, went over the conference schedule and layout, then the ASF members on the stage took questions from the floor. The questions were mostly predictable ones, about the time frame and features for the upcoming Apache 2.0 release. According to what I was told, the ASF has committed to having an alpha release out by the end of the conference (or next Monday at the latest).

I met Ben Laurie, co-author of O'Reilly's Apache: The Definitive Guide, for the first time this morning. He'd already been asked once when he was going to do a new edition of the book for Apache 2.0, and I predict that it won't be the last time he hears that question over the next three days. Now to answer the question: Ben will get started on a new edition of the book as soon as he feels that 2.0 is stable enough for him to write about, but we don't have any more definite information than that.

Walking back and forth from the conference center to my hotel room is a real visual experience. All the rooms, or suites to be precise, are in three towers that surround a courtyard with a huge crescent-shaped pool, complete with a waterfall and a 75-foot water slide. Crossing through the courtyard means seeing more exposed lily white body parts than I'd care to mention, interspersed with a few people who resemble cooked lobsters. Fortunately, the conference program is so packed with activities that I don't think many attendees will have the time to expose their delicate skin and risk sunburn.

There are several hundred people here for the conference. I bounced around from session to session today, so I can't report on the details of particular talks, but I can tell you what people were attending. At the first round of sessions this morning, it was standing room only for the first part of Stas Beckman's mod_perl tutorial. I don't know why his talk was in such a tiny room, but at least they were able to triple the room size for part two this afternoon. The session on the Jakarta Project was also overflowing. And I saw a good crowd at two talks on the business aspects of Open Source: "What is Open Source" and "The Cathedral Meets the Bazaar".

The conference even has a "night school" component, with sessions running from 6 to 7:30 today. Many attendees seemed content to forego having a full dinner and instead munch on some appetizers, in order to attend these sessions. There appeared to be lots of interest in Ryan Bloom's talk about migrating Apache 1.3 modules to Apache 2.0 and on Michael Meyer's presentation on the work his company, Advance Bank, has done to implement secure financial transactions with Open Source.

Perhaps part of the reason that people were willing to skip dinner is that there was a poolside dessert party this evening. Some people subscribe to the philosophy that "Life is uncertain; eat dessert first," but I've always thought that "Just eat dessert" is a better approach.

Now that I've come down from my sugar buzz, I think I'll call it a night.

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