13-year old to address Linux conference

13-year old to address Linux conference

Summary: A pint-sized linux guru who installed her first Debian server before her tenth birthday is to speak at this year's linux.conf.au

Thirteen-year-old Elizabeth Garbee may not know as much about Linux as her father Bdale Garbee, Linux CTO for HP and former Debian Project Leader, but that won't stop her from presenting at linux.conf.au 2005.

Elizabeth, who has had a computer since she turned two, has been running Debian since the time she was nine. According to her bio on the conference speaker’s list, her installation of Debian GNU/Linux on a server before she had reached 10 years of age "proves that installing Debian really isn't very hard", although it should be noted that "Dad is around to answer questions" if trouble hits.

Elizabeth will be speaking on "Extending Tuxracer – Learning by Playing", a seminar which Chair of the 2005 organising committee Steven Handley has said will revolve around making modifications to Tuxracer (a popular open source game involving Linux’s cuddly mascot) with the aim of making the game more fun. Ex-Debian Project Leader and dad Bdale will also present at the conference.

Whether Elizabeth is representative of a new generation of youthful Linux gurus is hard to determine, but her seminar at this year’s linux.conf.au conference, to be held at the Australian National University from 18–23 April, is certainly one example of what Hanley has said is an attempt to make the conference more "interesting, fun and unusual".

Other speakers at the event will include presentations from Eben Moglen (General Counsel for the Free Software Foundation), Rasmus Lerdorf (author of PHP), Robert Love (Linux kernel developer), Andrew Morton (Linux 2.6 kernel maintainer) and Andrew Tridgell (primary author of Samba).

As usual, a host of mini-conferences will be held around the main conference, with some of the more notable ones dealing with open source in education and government, the free office suite OpenOffice.org and the recently hot area of embedded applications.

The conference announced today that early-bird (discounted) registrations for the week of open source festivities had closed, with those wanting to register for the approximately 260 tickets left being forced to pay full price. Information was also released to the effect that IBM will take the primary sponsor role for the week. The full programme for the conference will be announced on 18 February. Renai Lemay reported from Sydney for ZDNet Australia. For more ZDNet Australia stories, click here.

Topics: Apps, Software Development

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  • Well, if a 13-year old can install Linux, then we can definitely start dumping all these pesky Windows installs.

    OK, OK... i'm only serious! B)
  • That's Eben Moglen, not Even Moglen!

  • Indeed! Sorry about the mistake, and thank you for pointing it out.
  • As an open-source kid myself (I submitted my first code patch when I was 15, and got a leadership position in the Parrot project soon after), I have to say that this sort of story is a little annoying to us. The reason a child or teenager is drawn to work in the open-source community is that they aren't talked down to--they're treated like responsible, intelligent adults. Sometimes the other contributors don't even know their age; when they do, the worst they get is a comment or two about how old the other contributors feel.
  • @Brent Dax:
    I don't think you should be annoyed or take offense, Brent.
    Do you realize how many Linux USERS (purely end-user status, non-geeks; like in an office setting, etc) have no clue that a few developers of that robust and full featured application they use every day may be mere children ( strictly chronologically speaking). I'm 34, been using Linux for 10 years and
    I think it's a great way to say to some people "If a kid - a NINE YEAR OLD KID - can install and use Linux, let alone give a talk at a Linux conference at age 13, why can't you?"
  • WHAT? I am also a 13 yr old Sri Lankan who installed linux when I was 8+, but I didnt get a chance like that!!! My parents dont think its big, because they're not into computing :(
  • "Whether Elizabeth is representative of a new generation of youthful Linux gurus is hard to determine"

    Well, it could be, I'm 17 and presenting at the security miniconf (shameless plug: 11am Tuesday 19 April).

  • Myself i have built a computer from nothing and i own 4 computers 2 on fedora core (linux) and the other 2 are xp and i think that in todays world it isnt really a big deal because there is alot of teens out there that know alot about computers and are fast learners you could give me anything and i would know it withing 30minutes how to operate it properly
  • There are some kids who play computers just for games and school some kids dont know how to use them and the others could tel you everything about a computer