Portland Taleblazer

Microsoft feeds, then infiltrates, O'Reilly confab

Spencer was one famished Furball when he slipped into the Portland Marriott Downtown hotel to attend the OReilly Open Source Convention. Except for the few SpongeBob crackers he had pawed from his neighbors tray on the morning flight, the Mouser hadnt eaten a morsel in more than 30 minutes.

Alarm spread over the Intrepid Interrogators face, though, when he realized his chances of scavenging scrambled eggs and sausage from a buffet line were nil. "Low budget!" screamed his conference badge, a flimsy paper thing he had to attach to the sharp lapel of his checkered coat with a safety pin.

The Technocentric Tomcat went to grab a conference backpack and T-shirt near the registration table, only to be steered toward a cashier, where he was told he would have to pay for them. "The outrage!" the Scandalmonger screamed. The Omniscient Omnivores appetite, meanwhile, had to remain on hold until noon, when Spence found his way to the only open source of sustenance: the free lunch provided to attendees by (gulp!) Microsoft.

Spencer expected the conference to be something of a war dance aimed at SCOs threat to the open-source community, with its claim that Linux is an unauthorized derivative of Unix. But no. The only session that addressed the issue directly, titled "The IP Wars: SCO Versus Linux," attracted fewer developers than other discussions. Looking for anti-SCO scorn, the Scandal Scribe invited invective from Mitch Kapor, the Lotus founder, who chairs the Open Source Applications Foundation. "SCOs actions are morally and utterly despicable," Kapor caviled. However, the ex-hippie blamed the media—of all things—saying the coverage Spence and his ilk were giving SCO wasnt helping things. "The media is being used by SCO to sway public perception in their favor. Nothing more should be written about the matter until SCO reveals any and all the evidence it has," said Kapor. The flummoxed Feline had a Dan Rather moment as he recalled his efforts to snag an interview with SCO head honcho Darl McBride. "Shades of the CBS anchormans sit-down with Saddam!" thought Spencer.

Meanwhile, Microsoft remains furiously focused on Linuxs threat. The Katt learned Redmond wants its Waggener Edstrom PR reps to be superknowledgeable about the rival OS. Since Wagg Ed has an office in Portland, many of the press proxies could be found attempting to educate themselves by attending sessions, wandering the show floor and lingering in lounges with their ears to the ground. "Hmm," pondered the Puss, "with sessions like The Anatomy of the MySQL Query Optimizer and Kiva: A Cross Platform 2-D Drawing API for Python, I wonder if theyll be informed—or in need of EMTs to revive them by the end of the convention."

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt, the Whiskered Wonder, has been the mascot and tipster extraordinaire for eWEEK and its predecessor print publication PC Week since 1984. The Gadabout Gatto makes the rounds of...