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LinuxWorld NY - Does Linux Have Anything to Worry About?

Feb 04, 2000, 16:19 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tom Adelstein)

By Tom Adelstein

I suppose the magnitude of this LinuxWorld has to stagger anyone who's followed these events. The large number of exhibitors and participants makes this the largest event in Linux history. Companies who by-passed the main Comdex exhibition hall (Compaq, IBM, Dell, etc.)came in force to Linux World.

I don't pay much attention to the "goodies" people collect. I don't collect "glow-in-the dark" plastic balls, for example. I also have little room for additional tee shirts. I did find some open source DVD drivers on opensource.creative.com which the technical people at Creative say should work with most any brand of DVD. They also said that they have no plans to provide "Creative" drivers for DVDs in the future until everything shakes out of the litigation process. I found that scarry.

I did watch the quality of the Linux DVD in comparison to Microsoft's at the Creative booth and unless you're very sight impaired, you can see a difference. But, I believe that isolated, the quality from the OPEN SOURCE LINUX drivers will work well.

We're exhibiting next to the SCO booth which is right next to the LinuxMall booth. Yesterday, Frank Kasper came by to tell us that he was merging his company with LinuxMall. My knees got very weak.

For those who don't know, Frank Kasper & Associates are the distributors for almost everything Linux. They wholesell every Linux distribution and every product. They've penetrated Fry's, MicroCenter and many other retail advocates of Linux. Ingram Micro and the other large wholesellers have demonstrated resistance to distributing Linux products. So, Frank has been our friend for a long time.

SCO appears to control LinuxMall. With SCO in control of the main distribution channels for Linux (remember their origins in Microsoft and Xenix) that really concerns me and some of the people with whom I have spoken.

SCO has promoted Tarantella heavily at this show. They pretty much stress the fact that you don't need Linux if you have their OS and Tarantella. Writing off their investment in LinuxMall and now Kasper would be immaterial to SCO's financial statements and could handicap Linux significantly.

I certainly plan to start looking for fresh sources of distribution after what I saw yesterday.

Another significant development at this show concerns the 1U Rack server. It appears that almost all the hardware manufacturers have thin rack offerings. Rebel.com sits next to the Cobalt booth showing off a very cool 1U chassis to go along with the Netwinder. Also, some companies I hadn't seen before have encircled Cobalt with 1U racks.

IBM has a good looking 1U as do Compaq, HP, Dell, Sun, Penguin, Aptiva and so on. I expect the 1U space to become thick with competition.

The mood at Jacob Javits Center in New York differs from other Linux events which I've attended. The throng of excitement normally seen at these events appears quelled a bit. The overall mood appears very concentrated and serious. More so than I've seen in a long while.

I keep running into Linus which doesn't have much to do with me. He appears to have gone public. I haven't seen any body guards and he mingles freely. I also note that people give him plenty of space and don't crowd him. I found that unusual but reassuring about how he sees himself and how well people behave at this event.

Eric Raymond seems to pop up in the pavillions. I introduced some Linux advocates from Portugual to him when a guy ran up with a camera. He asked one of the Portuguese fellows to take his picture with Eric and then ran off. He didn't ask Eric if it was okay. Eric did his standard shrug and went about his sight seeing.

John "Mad Dog" Hall has his own booth in a place called the Org Pavillon. The Org Pavillon includes the "Free - Open Source" organizations under one tent. I like hanging around the Org people and I'm glad the organizers made a clear distinction between the pure Open Source groups and the Commercial Linux Companies. BTW, John seemed in a very good space.

AT 1 PM EST, Gary Lawrence Murphy and I will join Francis Gaskins on the Linux League show on RadioWallStreet and I'll share more of my observations.

I must say that I have enjoyed this event immensely and look forward to future gatherings. It's good to meet people you know from Cyberspace.

Respectfully submitted


Tom Adelstein Bynari