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Geek Cruise - Linux Lunacy 2 - Day 4 - Georgetown, Cayman Islands
It was really lovely. The air was clean and fresh with a tang in it. The water was the most beautiful shade of blue.
There were other cruise ships around. Everywhere we stopped, the others were either just stopping or just leaving, and we played leap-frog with them the whole trip. Some were really big, and this one impressed Anne. There was another that was doing a Celebrity Cruise. From what we heard, you didn't book, they invited you.
The Maasdam put down anchor, and the lifeboats were pressed into service as tenders, to ferry us ashore. We put down anchor, and we watched the lifeboats being lowered. Then came the announcement that if we were going ashore, we should go to the Rembrandt Lounge and wait for a tender. So we did. We sat and waited with a room full of people eager to get ashore and see the sights. Yes, we waited. And waited. Apparently the water was a bit rough, and the tenders had to go slow to be safe. We waited about two hours, and finally got to go to a tender at about 11am. Lots of others were not as patient as us, and there were heated words exchanged with the pretty blonde who was organising the show.
The tenders were chugging away, coming and going. This photo shows one tender returning to the ship, while our tender headed for shore. The water was a little choppy, as you might gather from the angle of the horizon in the photo. But it didn't seem choppy enough to make us two hours late.
We walked around and looked at this and poked at that and then went on a shopping frenzy. I blame the heat. T-shirts and coffee mugs were the main items. We went into shops that sold black coral jewelry, and we looked at T-shirts that changed colour with the heat, and we looked at other jewelry and T-shirts and the usual junk. We spotted one expensive store selling Wedgewood and Waterford Crystal, so we spent a bit of time in there and came out with a piece of each. Nice stuff, good prices. The streets of Georgetown were wide, and the traffic was slow, and everything was relaxed and easy. It was nice to see cars driving on the left side again, although we noticed that the cars could be left or right handed, but they all still drove on the left, the way driving was intended to be. It was hot, but not unbearable. It was a just a great day to be out and about and having fun.
Even though it was an all tourism day, there was one Geek Session at 6:30, a Question and Answer session with Linus Torvalds. He doesn't do talks any more, but he is willing to answer questions. Linus was on the cruise with his wife and three little girls. The cruise was a good lure to get him to talk. The session was recorded and some bits have been transcribed, so you can read some of what he said at Open Enterprise Trends.com.
I got there early and got a good seat. Linus was having a chat with Steve Oualline before the session, so I thought I would start the groupie photo-taking orgy with some preview shots.
Neil Bauman opened the session. Neil was the organiser of the Geek Cruise. Great guy. Calm, organised and smooth.
Linus took the floor. He spoke briefly about the proposed new kernel release, and then he answered questions. It was interesting to listen to him. He's clear and calm and relaxed, has a good puckish sense of humour, and has opinions on a lot of things. But some things he doesn't have opinions on. When asked about the desktop, he said he is only interested in the kernel and doesn't pay attention to "user-space". That got a good laugh. He wouldn't say what he did at Transmeta. He hates CVS, and would use an open-source version of Bitkeeper if one was available, but there isn't one so he's using Bitkeeper. We use CVS at work, and have started having a few problems with some aspects of it, so I was interested in hearing his thoughts on it. I think our problems can be solved by reading the documentation closer, and changing some of the ways we do things. There was one very interesting question asked of him. A systems developer said that when his team develop a new project, they meet and whiteboard and get the basic design down first, and then they split up and co-ordinate via email. He wanted to know how Linus and his team do the whiteboard design part. Linus said he doesn't. The kernel development group have a good idea of what needs to be done, and they just code it. They are experienced enough to have game plans in their heads. And the coding is often experimental so they try this and then they try that and the system grows organically. It works. I was interested to hear this, because my habits are a bit like that too. If a job is straightforward, I will plan it and design it and document it and then code it, but it's boring. But new development can't always be planned out. You have to experiment and backtrack. But enough of me.
Then it was off to dinner again. A casual dinner this time, so no need for a jacket or a tie. Then off to the show. A comedian named Don Sherman side-swiped life on board the ship. He poked fun at almost every aspect of ship life, especially the quantities of food. He was good and we laughed, especially about the food. Straight after that we rushed to the top deck for the Dutch Dessert Extravaganza - a huge Dutch chocolate midnight dessert feast. Chocolate and Cointreau and then stagger back to our cabin and try and get in the doorway sideways, and then lie like beached whales till the morning.