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Linuxbierwanderung: On the Linux trail

August 5, 1999
Web posted at: 12:09 p.m. EDT (1609 GMT)

by Douglas F. Gray


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(IDG) -- Beer, Bavaria, hiking and ... computing? Indeed, Linux users from all over the world are betting that these four ingredients can be combined successfully, and are setting out to prove it next week in the hills of Southern Germany.

The Linuxbierwanderung (LBW), roughly translated as Linux beer hike, will bring together groups with similar interests from all over the world, with participants making the trek to Pottenstein, Germany from Russia, the San Francisco Bay Area, from Southern Ontario to Seattle. And these are just a few of the cities that have organized groups to go to the event.

The grass-roots event was originally to be organized by employees of Linux distributor SuSE and others with the sponsorship of Linux distributors, including Red Hat. Now, however, the event has reverted to its open-source roots, with participants taking the responsibility for organizing the event.

One user summed up the attitude by posting a message to the mailing list on the event's Web site, saying that the basic attitude was going to be more mellow. "Oh, that tree reminds me of GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), let's sit under it and talk about GIMP," he said, preferring that to setting meetings at 9 a.m. to discuss a certain issue.
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"It's going to be very informal," according to Andy Fletcher, who runs the Peterborough, U.K.-based ISP, Cyber Ware, where the main LBW server is located. "Nothing is arranged as such, except for the trip to the eclipse," he added. The trip south to view the eclipse is scheduled for Wednesday.

A number of other ad hoc events have been suggested by some participants, who communicate with each other via the mailing list on the site. These include a hike and train ride on Sunday and a visit to castle Neuschwanstein on Monday. The only item on the "itinerary" for Tuesday, for example, is "hiking open air workshops." Few of the events have been assigned a specific time.

Fletcher is driving to the event in his van with three others and his 14-year-old son. "One of the most amazing things about this event, is that it is being organized entirely over the Net," Fletcher added.

More information about the Linuxbierwanderung, from August 7-14, can be found at

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