Just now, I was thinking about which weekend I'd have to reserve to go to LinuxTag, which will be taking place in my current home town, Karlsruhe. Turns out that I don't even need to decide that: They will be charging 35€ to get in this time around. The show was good in 2003, but yaaaawningly boring in 2004. (Yes, I can hear you yawn now, too.) Even though I am officially employed now and the entrance fee would not be a major problem, I will not pay, and consequently not go. I don't think charging money is a good idea, and I firmly believe that most of the community will stay away as well. They have a figleaf "community ticket" program that depends on some sort of viral scheme, but I really doubt that it will work out. Look at the people who have made Linux what it is, and who matter the most: the developers. In general, they don't have much money to just spend on random stuff. Plus, they are already contributing valuable time for free. If LinuxTag wants to turn them away, so be it. In my case, they've succeeded. But who else would be the target audience? Commercial users? Maybe. Private users? I doubt they'll pay. Then who? I don't know.
Back in 2003, I made a donation to them to keep up the good work. I'd be willing to donate more this year (and yes, more than the 35Ã¢Â‚Â¬ they're demanding), if they told me that they really needed the support and the whole thing was still free. If they're forcibly trying to separate me from my money, I'll really rather stay at home. I'm stubborn like that. Screw them.
They say that Linux has "grown up", and so, LinuxTag needs to do the same. If they are trying to become a commercial fair, fine. Let them be another BuzzwordWorldExpo(tm). Other fairs are giving away exposition space to OSS projects as well, and have generally more to offer. Let them compete and see how they fare.
Update: The "viral scheme" seems to have worked out at least to a point where I got a free ticket to LinuxTag. I guess that public whining is a good way to score one. So, now I know what to do that weekend. :) Based on how things pan out, I might have to take back what I said above, in which case I'll do so on this journal.
By the rules, I may now be able to invite more people to LinuxTag. I'm certainly willing to do my part to get more people invited, should they want to. Just drop me an email.