[conclusion of previous blog entry]

From 1:00 PM until 3:30 PM, I wandered the halls of Linuxworld. I tripped across the huge expo on the first floor (until now I had ignored the first floor). Tons of vendors were there showing off their wares. I walked around all the colorful and noisy booths trying to figure out why anyone would bother going to these things? Rarely is there anything more to learn at a booth that you couldn't learn directly from the company's website. I guess you can network and meet people but that wasn't why I was here. I was walking off the nerves of the upcoming Golden Penguin Bowl.

I did end up walking past the Macrovision booth at Linuxworld. Macrovision, in case you missed the announcements, is the company that recently bought both InstallShield and ZeroG. The guy I was talking to (I totally lost his name) was from ZeroG. I have met plenty of guys from InstallShield but never anyone from ZeroG. We chatted a little about the merger and how the products were (or were not) coming together and all the exciting times they have to look forward to as two previously competing companies that now report to the same parent. Very interesting indeed.

The rest of the time was really just a blur. I did stop and talk to the guys manning the Gentoo booth. Daniel Robbins asked me to stop by and say, "Hi." A couple of the guys were happy to talk, so we discussed portage and how they build Gentoo and other such stuff. It was a great way to pass the minutes by.

But really it was all building up for the main event, the Golden Penguin Bowl. I showed up at 3:30 PM as requested and started donning my costume.

"Costume?" you might ask. Yeah, it gets better. But instead of talking about the prep, let me talk about the actual Golden Penguin Bowl.

Jeremy Allison, the host of the Golden Penguin Bowl, first introduced the Google team, member by member. There was Chris DiBona (Google), Marc Marlin (Google), and Brian Aker (MySql). After the Google team was comfortable, Jeremy kicked off the "Darth Vader's March" and Bill Hilf, Rob Curran, and I walked on stage as two Star Wars Storm Troopers (Bill and I) and Darth Vader (Rob Curran). What I remember was a shocked hush then quite a few laughs in the audience when Jeremy introduced each of us. As our profiles were read, we each took off our costume's helmet and settled in for our "battle vs. Google". <grin/>

I won't bore you with a question by question detail because quite honestly, I don't remember all the details. It was great fun being up there in a crazy costume having Jeremy poking fun at us, and poking back a bit ourselves. One example, I remember fondly. Jeremy had posed the question, "How many of the 10 super computers today are running Linux?" The answer was apparently 8 (nobody got it) and Jeremy pointed out to us (the Microsoft team) that "Sorry, guys the other two super computers are running some Unix." Bill Hilf quickly responded, "That's okay, Jeremy, you can have the 10 super computers. We'll settle for the 3 million desktops..." Everyone laughed. It was a funny joke with each side poking a little fun back at the other guys.

Alas, in the end, we did not return victorious. We actually trailed the entire game by a question or two, except for a short period where we were tied. Personally, I think we did pretty well. I got most if not all of the Windows questions correct like, "What operating system was Win32s for?" (although I did not get the bonus question that asked what the "s" stood for... hey, I think I was still in high school when this stuff came out! <grin/>) and Rob Curran was an absolute terror on the sci-fi questions.

In the end, while tons of people were taking pictures (everyone wanted a picture of the Microsoft guys in Star Wars outfits), Jeremy walked over to us and said he had a great time and that we were great sports. Then he made a quip that I found particularly amusing, "You know guys you'll just have to keep coming back until version 3... when you'll win."

Personally, I think that comment sums up today. Microsoft is still learning how to best interact with the Open Source community as a whole. It may take us a while (version 1, 2 and 3) but we're going to keep working at the relationship. I think that being able to laugh at ourselves in Star Wars outfits and have a general good time at things like the Golden Penguin Bowl are all small steps toward a better relationship. I also believe that Bill Hilf's presentation at Linuxworld tomorrow will be another example.

This is fun.