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Editor's Note from the Road: Gentlemens' Agreement

Apr 05, 2006, 14:15 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

One thing you notice on the show floor this year (besides the smoke from the Unisys booth, that is), is the distinct lack of certain vendors. Namely, IBM and HP, who usually have some sort of show floor presence at LinuxWorld.

Not this time. Oh, they're here. Each company has had some sort of customer fete, and IBM has their usual resevered meeting rooms to meet with press, customers, and the like. But no mega-giant booths dominating the ground and airspace here at the BCEC.

But here's what is really odd about this. I knew beforehand that HP wasn't coming to the floor. They'd cited expense as the major reason. According to the person I spoke with, a company like HP can plunk up to US$2 million down on a show trip--that's booth materials, floor space, marketing, travel, and lodging. As a penny-pinching Hoosier, I can relate to the need to save that kind of coin.

IBM's lack of floor presence may be related to this--after all, $2 million is a lot for anybody. But I was surprised to hear a source from IBM confirm a rumor I'd heard. Apparently, it was his understanding that IBM and HP has entered a gentlemens' agreement regarding their floor attendance, or lack thereof.

I don't know the details, but it seems that both companies agreed to go hands-off for this show. I can kind of understand HP's desire to pull out, but hey, IBM, don't you think this sort of diminishes your committment to Linux? Maybe this is a bit judgmental on my part, but I thought it worth mentioning.