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.Orgs React to LinuxWorld Changes

Jan 27, 2003, 18:00 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jacqueline Emigh)

By Jacqueline Emigh

Attendance seemed up. Microsoft won an award. But was last week's Linux conference really that different from earlier LinuxWorlds at New York's Javits Center?

Buttonholed in the .org Pavilion at the end of the show, some attendees said they saw big changes afoot. Nobody quite agreed, though, over just what was different.

"Lots of ISVs are dropping by this year, saying they want to 'partner' with us. They're asking about Debian's 'business model.' What they don't understand is that Debian doesn't have a business model," noted Clint Adams, a Debian.org member.

Businesses also flocked to Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP).org. "We used to get more of the kids in here - the teenagers. But I'd say 75 percent of the interest now is corporate," reflected LTSP "Booth Babe" Glenn Jacobson.

To Jacobson, this sort of change is welcome, in fact. Beyond volunteering for LTSP, Jacobson uses Linux terminal servers in his systems integration business, Unique Systems Inc. "Open source is 'true gold.' If you're using open source, you can still make money."

Meanwhile, other dot orgs attracted a different kind of crowd. "People keep asking us about how to get pieces of hardware--DVD drives, wireless stuff--to work with Linux," according to Mark P. Sullivan of New York Linux User's Group (NYLug).

Following up on a first-time appearance last August in San Francisco, Microsoft came back to LinuxWorld last week. By and large, bemusement was the biggest reaction at the .org Pavilion.

Also at the Javits, though, Microsoft's Services for Unix 3.0 won the Open Source Product Excellence award in the Systems Integration Software category. Some folks--including three members of New York GNU/Linux Scene (NYLXS)--found this news to be over the top.

"First, Microsoft makes Windows incompatible. Then, out of necessity, Microsoft has to integrate. Giving them an award for this cheapens the meaning of 'open source,'" charged Adam Kosmin.

"It's totally inappropriate to give an 'open source integration' award to a proprietary application," Ray Connolly concurred.

"There's nothing 'open source' about Microsoft whatsoever. If [LinuxWorld] changes the name of the award, maybe that's okay. Otherwise, 'open source' becomes just another buzzword," according to Marco Scoffier.

Many people, though, seemed to take Microsoft's award in stride. "Some of us are more reactionary to Microsoft than others," according to Sullivan.

Dot orgs blamed last year's low attendance at LinuxWorld New York mainly on the economic downturn, aftereffects of 9/11, or some combination of the two. "People didn't want to come to New York last year," Sullivan surmised.

Last week, however, the Linux faithful flew back to the Big Apple from all over the place. Inside the .org Pavilion, LPI-Japan's booth was mobbed. The center of attention? A lineup of Linux devices, including an HP Jornada running Linux instead of Microsoft's WinCE.

LinuxFund.org, though, noticed fewer smaller companies on hand at the show. "After the dot com bubble burst, a lot of smaller companies went out of business. If they haven't gone out of business yet, there's still less money available for travel," contended Candace Ramcharan, marketing manager for LinuxFund.

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