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Linux Journal: FOSE: A Penguin's Report from the Capital

May 04, 2000, 08:52 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jason Schumaker)

"FOSE (pronounce the "E", please) is a trade show dedicated to informing government IT professionals. The 24th annual event took place April 18-20 at the Convention Center in Washington, DC. Tim Bogart invited me to attend the event--to cover the "Linux invasion". Tim is a member of the Northern Virginia Linux User's Group (NOVALUG), and played a key role along with Billy Ball in bringing the first Linux Pavilion to FOSE . He convinced the show coordinators to award NOVALUG a complimentary booth and that Linux was worthy of pavilion space. While the pavilion was small compared to the small cities put together by Microsoft, Apple and IBM, the fact that Linux was there, it was visible and so many volunteers donated their time to simply chat Linux, is what really matters. Linux enjoys high visibility at most tradeshows, but in this case it was long overdue and gave the feel of the early days, when Linux wasn't well represented. The folks from NOVALUG are trying to change this, quite frankly, because too much money is involved."

"As Tim put it, "I know COMDEX is really important to a lot of people, but FOSE is important to less people, who are responsible for spending a lot more money." The federal government, the largest computer-related customer in the world, spends some $35 billion each year on hardware, software, support and so on. And, according to numbers from FOSE, "spending by the federal government on IT security is expected to reach almost $1 billion by 2005." The question to answer: where does Linux come into play? Currently, the Federal government is Microsoft's most lucrative customer. We all know how much the Fed likes to overspend. Who can forget the $500 hammer, or how a certain president paid hundreds of dollars for haircuts while aboard Air Force One? This want/need to overspend certainly isn't helping Linux any, as perceptions of free/open-source software are still negative in many IT minds. Still, having a Linux Pavilion at FOSE is a start, and hopefully more and more government IT professionals will begin to pitch Linux to their bosses."

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