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Linux thrives in the Netherlands

Oct 13, 2000, 08:15 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Erik Hensema)

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[ Thanks to Erik Hensema for this report: ]

Tuesday October 10th, I went to linux2000, a two-day conference held in `de Reehorst', Ede, the Netherlands. Keynote speaker was Eric Raymond (ESR).

The conference featured an exposition floor populated by many Linux-related companies. Among them internationally famous firms such as Redhat, Suse, IBM and Borland, but also typically dutch enterprises like Stone-IT or Snow. Of course, the Dutch Linux Users Group, NLLGG, had a booth of their own. Each day five rounds of talks were held; each round featured four speakers in parallel, so choices had to be made on what session to attend.

Here are my impressions on the second day of linux2000:

The day was opened by Joost Helberg of Snow BV. He gave a short introduction to Linux, its history and its future. He also pointed out some aspects of Linux he thought could be improved.

The second speaker was the keynote speaker of the event: Eric Raymond. He started by asking the public what they wanted to hear. After a democratic vote, we (the audience) decided we wanted to hear about effective advocacy tactics. I think everybody in the audience agrees this man really has a clue about advocacy...

After a short break, the 'smaller' presentations began. Personally I first attended the presentation by Borland, "Linux in the real world". Though it was mostly marketing-speak about their upcoming Kylix development system and their other Linux-products, it was still an interesting presentation.

The second presentation I attended was titled "The Linux evolution, IA64, e-services and beyond", by Hewlett-Packard. Personally I found this presentation to be a disappointment, since it was mostly about HP and their vision on the future of computing. It remained unclear what role Linux plays in this vision.

After the lunch, we all gathered to listen to a presentation about Linux certification given by Rudolf Tegelaar and Alan Belinger. They explained why certification is important and what progress has been made in this field.

Next, the smaller sessions continued. I decided I've heard enough marketing-speak for the day, so I went to the more technically-oriented presentations. So, I went to see the presentation "Real time Java, real time Linux" by Jaap Schuttevaer of Turnkiek. He explained the advantages of Linux over proprietary operating systems in realtime embedded systems and the possibility of using realtime Java in embedded systems.

From the small embedded systems, I went to the real processing power: Armijn Hemel and Job Spijker of the UULug (UUlug Utrecht Linux User Group) gave a presentation about the Beowulf Cluster they're going to build to celebrate their LUG's first anniversary. Appropriately, they're assembling a 365-node cluster which will run for two days.

The last presentation of the day was "Information Retrieval and Open Source", by Hans Paijmans of Tilburg University. He explained the fundamental models of information retrieval and why Linux is the right tool to process large amounts of text. I think he was the only speaker of the day without a formal degree or even much experience in computer science (he has a PhD in information retrieval, though), so it was interesting to hear why he choose to use Linux.

I was very impressed by the size of the Linux-movement in the Netherlands and the professionalism of the event. I'm already looking forward to the next big Linux event in Holland!

Note: most of the presentations were in Dutch, I've translated their titles to English.