Vernor Vinge talked about how he got started writing science fiction, about numerical parametrization of group minds, about some characters in "Deepness in the Sky", and, of course, his brainchild -- the concept of Singularity, the ways it could happen, and what current research might lead to it.
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.
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.
Some memorable or amusing moments from panels where I didn't take enough notes to yield an article of its own:
Looking for an idea? Watch our panelists brainstorm.
What's the latest strange discovery? Our panel talks about the most recent results and odd topics they've seen.
Looking for new ground in speculative fiction, art and science.
Topic, according to the convention program: We just thought it would be cool to have this group discuss future possibilities.
What was said on the panel: Vernor Vinge found irony in the panel's "weaselly" title; are there technical errors in Vernor Vinge's works? When fans find excuses for the writer's technical errors; what are some of the most interesting recent computer-themed SF books? theological value of ubiquitous computing.
Images from ArmadilloCon 2003 can be found in my photo gallery.