January 24, 2001

Linux stock market isn't hurting LinuxWorld show

Author: JT Smith

- By Grant Gross -
Linux stock prices haven't set any records recently, but the bearish market isn't hurting exhibitor or registration numbers at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo next week in New York. In fact, questions about Linux companies' finances may help boost attendance at the event.

"With the value of our show being in people's ability to talk to one another, the existence of a lot of questions fuels a better event, quite frankly," says Rob Scheschareg, vice president of events for IDG World Expo. "What LinuxWorld is able to do that other events are not able to do is that everyone there is talking about Linux and Open Source. Questions about the market get answered at our show, when they may not get answered anywhere else."

Registration for conference programs is up 48% from a year ago, with overall registration up about 15%. Scheschareg expects between 22,000 and 25,000 people to walk through the doors of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center during the four-day event, Jan. 30 to Feb. 2.

More than 200 companies have registered as exhibitors, compared to about 150 at last year's New York event, and the expo has nearly doubled its floor space, according to Scheschareg. What that means is a lot more bigger companies, as opposed to small, cash-hungry startups, taking up more space per exhibit. "Part of the growth of that is seeing a lot of established companies starting to adopt Linux," he says.

Scheschareg advises conference attendees to keep an eye on IBM, which will have some of its top brass in attendance. "IBM's having a huge splash at the show," he says.

Also worth checking out, especially if you're a businessperson, are several new programs focusing on Linux in the corporate market, notes Scheschareg.

Look for several vice presidents of marketing and e-commerce to be wandering around the conference, and even some "C-level people" -- CEOs, CIOs, etc. People from the core industries in New York -- retail, financial services, and communication companies -- will find information aimed at how Linux can help their companies, Scheschareg says.

"I think people will say, 'Wow, here are some applications that can help my business,'" he adds.

The business/legal issues track at the conference includes sessions such as "Open Source Licensing and the Impact on Emerging Business Models," "Righteous Hacks and the Next New Thing or How the .org Community is Affecting the Business of Linux," and "Giving Linux Legs to Stand On -- Enhanced Usability for Consumers and Businesses."

Another new feature, at least for the New York version of LinuxWorld, will be a complete certification program from Sair Linux and GNU Certification. Attendees can get administrator certification at LWE for no charge beyond conference registration; the cost of this certification would otherwise be more than $5,000.

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