"Round Table with Red Hat: Linux in Universities -
what's keeping us from rolling out Linux on the desktop?"
This event was one of many stops on Red Hat's Road Tour 2002. Red Hat has a diary of each day of the trip online, but haven't yet written up their Los Angeles stop -- perhaps we gave them so much feedback, they got indigestion :-)
The round table was at USC's Taper Hall of Humanities, room THH 202. About 80 people attended -- very close to the expected number. It started off with about an hour of informal questions and answers, and a demo of Red Hat 8.0, followed by an hour-long panel discussion.
The demo of RH8.0 was actually useful - I find its menus confusing, and having them explain where they're headed gave me some comfort that things in 8.0 are an improvement and that 8.1 will be better.
The four sysadmins on the panel seemed to agree that being able to manage a large number of desktops easily was important, and we talked about how to do that. The EON(?) project at some university (I ran into this a few weeks ago, but can't find the name or a link) was given as an example of a slightly customized version of Red Hat. Other likely examples: www.linux.ncsu.edu/realmkit, linux.ait.iastate.edu.
The sysadmins from businesses tried to pound into Red Hat the importance of letting medium-sized businesses give Red Hat money by purchasing inexpensive (e.g. $5000/$10000) yearly support contracts without having to talk to a salesman.
Quite a few questions from the audience got answered (e.g. about AFS, embedded development).