Garmin hosts a Linux User Group meeting

Sun 10 May 2009

Garmin is a sizable consumer electronics firm situated in the Kansas City metro area, and yesterday they graciously hosted a KULUA meeting in their conference space. Why would they do this? Because they use Linux in their products and are hiring.

Tallgrass Technologies catered lunch, gave a presentation on OpenStorage and held a buisness card raffle for Royals' tickets. A few local Linux aficionado's gave quick presentations on postgresql and Mylyn. It has been suggested that at some point slides and videos of these will be posted. Garmin also gave a talk (slides), but there wasn't any invitation for questions, so those of you hoping to hear about upstream involvement or more transparency will be disappointed. Still, I'm glad they chose to distribute the slides and talk at all. Oh, one neat trick the presenter showed off was ssh'ing into a nuvi device. It's rare to find embedded platforms that leave dropbear installed, so thats pretty sweet. Not sure what ant was running for though; surely they don't build on the device itself.

The campus itself is much, much bigger than when I was last invited to visit. The parking garage appears to have been custom engineered to move Garmin products, as the place is an unnavigable labyrinth. The lobby atmosphere was laden with an awkward senior year interview type tension: five well dressed complete strangers sit in uncomfortable silence, perhaps even secretly sizing one another up, and wait for a company employee to escort you to the interview room user group meeting. I feel like I got the evil eye a bit, dressed in my Ubuntu polo and jeans. Probably because Garmin is hiring, and won't let you forget this fact. In fact, they're one of the few places in town that is hiring, even though they just announced major profit drops in the last week.

Certainly, there was a large turnout, and it highlights demand for user group meetings in Johnson County and Kansas City. If there are any Ubuntistas in the area, you may want to get in contact with me.

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