The name Larval Mode comes from the Hacker's Dictionary where it means the state of being a novice programmer or techie. The panelists were Eric Raymond and "one of the unsung heroes of the internet" John Quarterman. They did this panel specifically for a group of high school students who travelled to Linucon.
Here are some topics they talked about.
I can't guarantee that I quoted Eric Raymond or John Quarterman correctly, but I tried to capture the essence of what they said.
Official Synopsis: Cuddling with the computer too much? We've been there too. Ways to learn (or relearn) social skills.
Panelists Eric and Cathy Raymond discuss flirting tactics and first date ideas that work well for geeks.
At Linucon 2004 Eric Raymond gave a speech on the basic principles of the Unix philosophy. They are the same principles as described in the "Basics of the Unix Philosophy" chapter of Raymond's book "The Art of Unix Programming". Since the book is available online, I put a link to each rule so you could compare what's said in the book with what was said in the speech. He dwelled a little longer on each rule and gave more examples than he does in this chapter of the book. At the end of the speech he answered questions, some more, some less related to Unix philosophy. He also ranted on XML (after admitting not having an opinion about it) and expressed his opinion on Hurd.
Pictures from Linucon 2004 are in my photo gallery.
Synopsis from Linucon program book: "The most popular open source license, the GPL, inspires controversy to this day. Eric Raymond recently expressed some ambivalence about it, so he and his lawyer wife Cathy are moderating this panel, with Jay Maynard, a.k.a. The Tron Guy speaking out against the GPL and Rob Landley defending it."
One of Rob Landley's pro-GPL arguments is that it can prevent a project from forking. Jay Maynard claims credit for coining the term General Public Virus. His objection to GPL lies in its ideological agenda. Rob says GPL keeps companies from taking open source code, incorporating it into their products and making money off of someone else's work without giving back to the community. Jay objects that even if companies did that, the good consequences of this action would outweigh the bad. Eric Raymond then inserts himself physically and ideologically between these two "nutcase friends" of his. His position is that GPL is slowing down the adoption of open source, because it is often incorrectly perceived that a company that uses open source software would be obligated to blow open their entire intellectual property. Furthermore, he says, GPL is based on the assumption that defecting from the open source community is attractive, whereas in reality it is its own punishment. Both sides use Linksys as an example to support their arguments. :-) They briefly debate whether the reason BSD did not become as popular as Linux was due to its license, or, as Eric Raymond argues, because they got their social machinery wrong.
Some pictures from this panel can be found in my Linucon 2005 photo gallery.
Read more about The Tron Guy in my blog.