March 21, 2005

Novell's BrainShare 2005: Day 1

Author: Joe Barr

BrainShare 2005 kicked
off today in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. Over 6,000
attendees have registered for Novell's annual gathering of clients,
partners, and vendors this year.I happened to sit next to a Novell customer on the flight into Salt Lake City from
Dallas. Once we learned we were both headed to the same destination, we
turned to tech talk, and I asked him how he felt about Novell's shift
from Netware OS to Linux.

He explained that it's a good deal for his company price-wise: his only concern was
the learning curve. A lot of Netware admins have become very proficient
in tending to a very unique OS. Now they are going to have to shift
gears and learn an entirely new way of doing things on Linux.

I'll be
asking a lot of others that same question this week. The convention
gets started in earnest tomorrow.

Microsoft may not be present in a booth, but they are making their
presence known in other ways. A truck was circling the Salt Palace
today towing a billboard-sized sign behind it. "Following Novell's
plans for the future?" it read, followed by, "Are you sure about that?"

It's a cute ad, but it says more about Microsoft's growing discomfort
over the gains of free/open source software at its expense than anything
else. And to tell the truth, they have a very tough sell in this crowd,
which -- if I'm reading it correctly -- is more anti-Microsoft than much
of the Linux community.

But if I heard a conversation correctly on the bus carrying customers,
partners, and the press over to a fancy dinner -- replete with a one-hour motivational talk by astronaut Jerry Linenger -- at least two members
of the press attending Brainshare disagree with that. They think it's a
foregone conclusion that Netware customers will abandon ship in droves
rather than adopt Linux.

It promises to be an informative conference. There are workshops,
training sessions, and birds-of-a-feather sessions scheduled daily. The
vendor exhibit area is large and well-stocked. There is also a
relaxation and spa area, where attendees can unwind by shooting pool,
using the spa, or just sitting around and talking.

More to follow.

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