[Editor's Note: This story has been expanded to include
comments from Microsoft on why they plan to attend LWE.
After years of openly critical behavior towards Linux,
particularly during the semi-annual LinuxWorld Expos, Microsoft
Corporation has apparently decided to officially join the party in
what may be a more diplomatic approach to the Linux community.
The list of exhibitors available on the LinuxWorld Expo site has
the software company listed as an exhibitor, complete with booth
This assignment puts the decidedly adversarial company in the
area of the convention floor known as The Rookery, where first-time
exhibitors are typically placed.
A representative from IDG World Expo confirmed that Microsoft
was indeed a genuine exhibitor.
After this story was initially posted, a representative from
Microsoft did respond to questions regarding Microsoft's presence
at the LinuxWorld Expo. Peter Houston, Sr. Dir. of the Windows
Server Product Management Group, answered the question that has
been on many people's minds since this story was broken: why?
"The audience that attends this show is very important to us,"
Houston explained, "we have some great products to show." He went
on to add that Microsoft sees their particpation in this show as
the first step towards forming an ongoing dialog with members of
the Linux and Open Source community.
This is a marked departure from their past treatment of
LinuxWorld Expo. While Microsoft has never had an official presence
at these open source expositions, they have preferred instead to
send one or two representatives, such as Craig Mundie, to attend
the conventions and chat up the press with various critical remarks
on Linux, Free Software, and Open Source.
Right now, exhibitors at the Microsoft booth are planning on
demonstrating products which feature Microsoft's Windows XP
embedded technology. Houston emphasized that they have made great
strides in the embedded space of late and Microsoft is eager to
demonstrate those products to the attendees of the LinuxWorld
Admittedly, though, Microsoft is also going into this convention
with an open mind. Houston indicated that he personally has learned
a great deal about open source servers from attending such events
and that Microsoft has as well.
"We have learned a lot at these events," Houston said, "These
forums are a great way to establish a dialog."
"I'm expecting good things to come out of this," Houston
Dialog was something Houston emphasized throughout the
interview. When asked what would be the one thing that Microsoft
hopes to benefit from attending the LinuxWorld Expo, Houston
replied, "It's about that first step in a broader dialog [with the
Linux community] and showing our customers some of the great things
in our embedded products."
The summer LinuxWorld Expo will take place from August 13-15,
2002 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.
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