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Meeting Linus

"Linus gave a very early talk for the Silicon Valley Linux User Group. When he had just moved to America he gave a talk at this terrible restaurant where we used to meet. It was a horrible place and the food was abominable, and I didn't go, and missed his big entrance. A few years later when Linux was starting to become quite important he gave another talk about the kernel to the Silicon Valley Linux User Group, and this time it was held at Cisco, and I really wanted to go, but it was the week that the very first book on Samba came out..."

"Computer Literacy had a great bookstore on First Street, San Jose, and I said I would give a talk on Samba. It was one of the first talks I ever gave, and the bastards scheduled me exactly the same night as Linus. And I thought 'I don't wanna do this. We'll do it and no-one will turn up.' So I turned up and there were 50 or so people, and I said:

'Look, are you sure you don't want to go down the road to Cisco and see Linus instead?',

and they said,

'No, we're here to learn about Samba.'

So I was stuck giving the talk and missed Linus's big entry."

"But I got to know him anyway, because he was friends with Larry Augustine, the head of VA Linux, and I'd meet him at parties and stuff. That was when I was going through my black leather phase. At that time nobody was shipping Linux, and we had really big dreams for VA Linux. I remember saying:

'If Dell won't ship Linux, VA Linux will just have to become another Dell.'"

"At the same time I met a guy called Mike Masterson who worked for one of the big consulting companies and was getting into Linux. Mike decided to have a 'Future of Linux' talk. I still have the advertising he did for it, and he got someone from Red Hat to speak, and Linus, and asked me to be the warm-up man."

"This was the famous event in 97 or 98 when Oracle announced that they were going to be porting to Linux. So I turned up for the talk, and arrived at the same time as Linus. They were queuing around the block to get in, and I thought 'Wow'. Linus wasn't well known in the Valley at the time. His name was known but his face wasn't. So we walked in together through the speakers' entrance, and Mike Masterson grabbed Linus and said:

'Hey, where you going? You can't go in there',

and I had to tell him, 'Mike. He's the reason everybody's here.'"

Next: Days that used to be

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