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Update: LinuxWorld Expo: Guess Who's Coming to Exhibit?

Jul 03, 2002, 21:03 (108 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

[Editor's Note: This story has been expanded to include comments from Microsoft on why they plan to attend LWE. -ed.]

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 assignment (R10).

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 Expo.

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 added.

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.

Map of Microsoft's placement on the exhibition floor

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