ZD OpenSource Forum Brings Open Source and Business Leaders Together

By Dwight Johnson, Linux

The recently concluded Ziff-Davis Open
Source Forum
was a rare opportunity for business leaders to
meet with Open Source leaders
in an informal setting. The forum brought together a stellar group
of IT and open source leaders to discuss the potential of Linux and
other open source software for business.

The two day event June 30 and July 1, 1999 was sponsored by
Caldera Systems,
Red Hat Software, Hewlett-Packard, SuSE, SCO, Atipa
Linux Solutions
, Cobalt
, VA Linux
, Linux Mall and
Linux Today.

The Forum organized a business track and a technical track of
panels and speakers around a series of keynote speeches by some of
the most influential leaders in the open source arena.

Linux Today covered
the event
with both feature articles and streaming mp3 audio
interviews from its booth on the exhibits floor at Palmer
Auditorium in Austin, Texas. This special report will summarize
Linux Today’s coverage and also link to other media coverage of the

Open Source evangalist Eric Raymond opened the Forum Wednesday
morning with his keynote “The Magic Cauldron — Economics and
Business Models for Open Source Computing” by asking the
fundamental question “How do we make money at this?” and then
outlining several working and hypothetical business models. (See
Eric Raymond
Stirs the Cauldron at Ziff-Davis OpenSource Forum

Next, Ransom Love, President and CEO of Caldera Systems, gave a keynote
titled “Open Source in the Commercial Market: Understanding and
Preparing for the Shift” in which he pointed out how Linux fits
perfectly into current technology trends which see the evolution of
the PC breaking up into more specialized appliances and the
Internet becoming the network. According to Love, this will lead to
a process of business “left-sizing”. (See Caldera CEO Ransom
Love Foresees Linux “left-sizing” of Business

The final first day morning keynote was by Linux International
Director Jon “maddog” Hall and titled “Linux — Ready for Prime
Time”. “maddog” reviewed a recent D.H. Brown report comparing Linux
and Windows NT. Linux Today interviewed “maddog”
following his keynote.

Completing the morning was the panel ‘Open Source Creators Speak
Out’ moderated by Craig Cline of Seybold Publications and featuring
panelists Jeremy Allison, Kirk McKusick, Sameer Parekh and Paul
Vixie. Jeremy Allison, Samba Lead Developer, graciously consented
to an interview by Linux

The afternoon Technical Track included the interesting panel
‘Progress Report on Apache’. Linux Today caught up with Panel
member James Barry, Product Manager IBM Websphere Standard Edition,
for this interview.

Meanwhile in the Business Track, Jonathan Eunice, President of
Illuminata, spoke
on ‘Open Source: When to Use It and When to Say No’. “Linux
is not yet ready for enterprise use and will not be for a some
time, but it is useful for vendor management purposes,” he

Also in the Business Track, Robert McMillan, Executive Editor of
Linux Magazine, moderated the panel ‘Industry Analyst Roundtable:
Is Open Source for Real?’, summarized in the VNU Net report,
Open Source
Forum: Analysts divided over impact of Linux on NT

Thursday morning, Matthew Szulik, President of Red Hat Software,
Inc., lead off with the keynote address Linux in the
. Matthew Szulik also shared his thoughts with Linux
Today in an audio

This was followed by the panel ‘How to Support Open Source in
the Enterprise’ reviewed by the IDG.net story Firms are racing to
support Linux applications

Thursday afternoon featured the charismatic and entertaining
Miguel de Icaza, Coordinator of the GNOME Project, with the
presentation ‘Linux Desktop Futures: the GNOME Project’ covered in
the story GNOME
at the forum
by Linuxworld.com. Linux Today’s Dave Whitinger
caught up with Miguel for a very entertaining inverview following
his presentation (audio, text).

For a great finale, the Forum finished off with Tim O’Reilly,
Founder and CEO of O’Reilly & Associates, giving the final keynote
‘Successful Business models for Open Source’ and warning that while
Open Source (OS) licensing has played a key role in the development
of the Internet, the OS community needs to be vigilant to ensure
that the Net continues to remain open. Tim O’Reilly also presents
many challenging and forward thinking ideas about the evolution of
the open-source movement in this Linux Today audio

Ziff-Davis provided outstanding catering for the Forum with
breakfast, lunch, snacks and beverages. When not attending
presentations, sponsors, presenters and attendees alike took
advantage of the many opportunities to easily meet and chat with
each other.

In one such meeting, Marc Torres, President of SuSE Inc.,
stopped into the Linux Today booth to share with us his wit and wisdom
about the Atlanta Linux Showcase which he heads.

All evenings of the event were enlivened by parties thrown by
Ziff-Davis and the vendor sponsors.