Editor's Note: Explaining LinuxWorld
Aug 18, 2006, 22:30 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)
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By Brian Proffitt
Well. That was certainly interesting.
I write, of course, of my attendance at this year's San
Francisco edition of the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo,
which--from most reports--was a successful venture, much more so
than the much-maligned Boston show this past Spring.
Having ventured forth into the big trade show for all things
open source, I am compelled to give my brief synopsis of what this
year's show was all about. I have to admit to you, it wasn't easy
at first. I talked to a lot of people about a lot of different
things, so trying to nail something down in one topic area was
But while I was talking, I began to notice a thread of
commonality. A thread that I think was inevitable, once you find
it. So, my (non) patented one-word summary of what this LWCE was
all about is...
Finally Linux and Open Source technology is about what the
end-user needs, and not what the developer wants.
Finally it's about an ecosystem so robust that there is no way
on Earth that the proprietary businesses will ever be able to make
open source go away. Ever.
Finally about companies who are beginning to reach out to the
open source development community in non-condescending or
-exploitive ways. Where the collaborative method is seen not as a
curious oddity, but as an actual necessity.
Finally products and services are being put together not just to
emulate existing technology, but to surpass it with new and totally
different offerings. Sure, it'll be cool to see more apps ported to
Linux, but it's the new stuff that will knock your socks off.
Finally people realized you can have a Linux show without Red
Hat and the planet won't stop spinning on it's axis--and the Linux
axis doesn't spin through Cary, NC.
Finally Microsoft is going to start dealing with open source
companies on their terms--not Redmond's. There were several
Microsoft staffers at the show, publicly or otherwise, and they
were definitely in community outreach mode.
There were flaws in the event, don't get me wrong. With the
exception of the Lawrence Lessig opening presentation, the keynotes
were basically glorified marketing pitches from the show
The .Org Pavilion was stuck in the back again, this time
dominated by VA Software's sprawling Slashdot Lounge--something I
find ironic, given that VA's most profitable product, SourceForge
Enterprise Edition, is neither free (unless you have a developer
shop of 15 or less people) nor open.
The caliber of the presentations was very good, based on my own
observations and what folks were telling me. I thought the
Healthcare Day hosted by the OSDL on Tuesday was very well
put-together, though a little on the market-y side.
So, there is a ways to go. But these are logistical issues, and
should not detract from the fact that every time we have one of
these shows, the strengths of Linux are highlighted even more, and
it's demonstrated that open source is not a fad that will fade.