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ZD OpenSource Forum Brings Open Source and Business Leaders Together

Jul 10, 1999, 12:06 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dwight Johnson)

By Dwight Johnson, Linux Today

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 Networks, VA Linux Systems, 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 event.

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 Opening.)

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 Today.

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 out 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 declared.

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 Enterprise. Matthew Szulik also shared his thoughts with Linux Today in an audio interview.

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 interview.

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.