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Editor's Note: Tales from the Expo

Jan 23, 2003, 14:00 (12 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

By Brian Proffitt

There is a certain sense of anticipation whenever I first walk into a new LinuxWorld convention. Will it be bigger than last year? Will it be smaller? Who's going to have the biggest press announcement? And, will they finally have WiFi hotspots in the hall?

These are my thoughts as I stepped out of the frigid New York winter and into the slightly warmer Javitts Convention Center for LinuxWorld Expo NY 2003.

I was early on Wednesday, because I was meeting with LinuxPlanet writer Jacqueline Emigh, who lives in the New York area. I rarely get to see our freelance writers face to face, so that will be a highlight of my day.

Also on my agenda is being a judge for the Open Source Product Excellence awards. This is a new thing for me, and a rather late addition to the schedule, but I was honored to be asked, even if it was last minute.

The logistics of judging such an affair are a bit daunting: the six judges are paired off and sent to judge entries in the categories they pick. I was paired off with Rob Malda of Slashdot, and we ended up getting four catagories with 22 total entries. The judging started soon after 10 a.m., and we had until 2 in the afternoon to finish. I should tell you now that even though the floor of this year's Expo is smaller than in years past, running around to that many booths in that amount of time is no mean challange.

Rob, who is known to Slashdot readers as CmdrTaco, in case you're one of the five people on the Internet who has never been to Slashdot, was truly a Godsend to be paired off with. Even though as a reporter I am used to talking to people and gleaning information in a hurry, his own energy was unflagging and kept things moving right along.

Along the way, we traded notes about running our respective sites, which was interesting, and I learned more about moderation mechanics than I ever knew existed. And I thought monitoring our talkbacks was hard.

We finished the last booth at 1:59 (saving Miquel de Icaza for last because he is one hard man to get a hold of and he was the only person the Ximian people wanted to talk about Mono, one of the entries we were looking at), and then ran back to the judge's meeting area to compare notes.

I could not tell such a tale without releasing the full list of award winners, so here it is:

  • Best Network/Server Application: SuSE Linux OpenExchange Server
  • Best Developer Tools: IBM WebSphere Studio Application Developer v5
  • Beat Data Storage Solution: IBM Tivoli Storage Manager
  • Best System Integration Software: Microsoft Services for UNIX 3.0
  • Best Security Solution: Computer Associates eTrust Antivirus
  • Best Front Office Solution: Ximian Evolution
  • Best Productivity Application: HRsmart Applicant Tracking
  • Best Cluster Solution: Red Hat Advance Server
  • Best Sys Admin Tools: SCO Volution Manager

Yes, you read number four right. That wasn't my category to judge, but after hearing the judges' explanation, I would have to concur that they were a reasonable fit for the award. Would I have chosen them? I'll never know.

The last two awards went to Ximian Mono for Best Open Source Project, and SGI's (64-way) Altix 3000 server for Best of Show.

After the judging, the day mellowed out. I had a very interesting interview with Chris DeBona before the Golden Penguin Bowl, but we talked about the very cool game he is working on in his new venture Damage Studios. Look for that forthcoming article soon.

Tomorrow (or today as you read this), I have a number of press briefings, the bread and butter of why I come here. Thus far my schedule includes AMD, SGI, JBoss, and Dell, among others.

My impressions of the show thus far? Very corporate minded this year. I know, all of us media folks say that every year, but it's still true. Not very many developers, say the people at the booths. A lot of corporate decision makers.

As I mentioned before, the show is smaller, taking up only one huge room of the conevntion center. But, and I am not the only one who noted this, the energy level of participants is very high. Many conversations I had or overheard were with people trying to really integrate Linux in the work that they do.

And, I was happy to see, the Rookery and the .Org Pavillion were packed with visitors. Very cool. But there are no beanbag chairs anywhere in the hall.

Happily, there is WiFi access this year, out in the main foyer of the center. Thanks go to ShowNet for this service, which lets me keep an eye on the site from time to time.

Off to bed now. If you're here, feel free to swing by and say howdy. Grey jacket, blue shirt, Linux Today button on lapel.