Editor’s Note from the Road: Gentlemens’ Agreement

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.