August 10, 2005

LinuxWorld Conference & Expo - Day 1

Author: Robin Miller

SAN FRANCISCO - 09 Aug 2005 - This is the 10th or 11th LinuxWorld
Expo
I've attended. Or is it the 12th? Anyway, I've been to all the
U.S. ones and they're starting to blur together. Two seconds after I
came through the door I ran into Mae Ling Mak and Clay Claiborne
of Los Angeles-based Cosmos Engineering,
two old friends from LinuxWorlds past, and we tried to estimate the
percentage of people who were here because they were committed GNU/Linux
advocates vs. the percentage who were here because they were paid to be
here as part of their jobs. We figured at least 85% of all attendees
were here for their jobs.The kickoff keynote was given by Oracle President Charles
Phillips
. I didn't go. A colleague asked me why. I said, "Because
he's going to tell us Oracle is great, Linux is marvelous, and that the
combination of the two is unbeatable."

(If you heard Mr. Phillips's speech, and he said anything more than
this, please post it in a comment below.)

Strange swag

Mae Ling scored the purple yo-yo in the picture below. You get to guess
what's inside the orange "Making Windows Safe for Linux" wrapper next to
it. (The answer's at the bottom of this article.)

But there's more to LinuxWorld than swag. Indeed, swag quantity and
quality has fallen off drastically in recent years. The next picture is
of Debian founder and Progeny Inc. cofounder Ian Murdock announcing that
most of the major players in the "Commercialized Debian" business space
are banding together to make a common core that's compatible with
mainstream Debian (Sarge) and the Linux Standards Base. I hope this
means more apps get distributed as .deb binaries instead of only as .rpm
files. I believe a lot more of us use Debian and Debian derivatives than
most software vendors and packagers know.

The .org pavilion

With every LinuxWorld the "Dot-Org" pavilion, where the non-profits at
the heart of GNU/Linux get small, free bits of booth space, seems to get
farther away from the center of the main expo area. This time it was on
a whole separate floor -- but as one wag pointed out, the Dot-Org
pavilion was above the commercial displays. There is some
justice to this. Not only that, but if all you wanted to see was the
Dot-Org people (perhaps in between tech sessions and tutorials), this
placement made it possible to visit them without going near any of the
commercial displays.

Since Dot-Org booths tend to get more visitors per square foot than
commercial displays, this was probably not good for the paying
exhibitors. But it was kind of nice to have all the cool people
someplace where annoying sales presentations through loudspeakers didn't
keep me from hearing what they had to say.

EtherBoot.org

Usenix

Free Standards Group (Mae Ling and Clay are the two people on the left)

I'll get more shots of Dot-Org booths and people later in the show. Now
let's have a look at some of the more ... interesting ... promo gimmicks
used by commercial exhibitors.

Your attention please, ladies and gentlemen!!!

Nothing represents Linux quite as well as a mechanical bull, right?
This company -- Black Dog -- seemed to have some very cool-looking
matchbox-sized servers, but the bull-ride hoopla made it hard to get
any actual information about the product.

Bicycle Linux? I don't remember who was giving this bike away. One of
the big vendors.

Since this show was very businesslike, and so targeted at enterprise
Linux users, trusting cartoon characters for security is obviously a
businesslike thing to do.

And if you ever wondered when China was going to become a major Linux
power, your wait is over. These folks deserve a whole interview, just to
themselves. Not many foreign countries' capital cities set up LinuxWorld
displays to tout themselves as a "Linux Capital."

More to Come

I'll be wandering the show with my camera until LinuxWorld is over
(Thursday afternoon), and a couple of better photographers will also be
contributing shots. Stay tuned!

* Inside the Codeweavers wrapper: A purple condom. It matched Mae
Ling's purple yo-yo perfectly, but Codeweavers CEO Jeremy White told us
they came in assorted colors; that I had lucked out by getting a purple
one.

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